Fireplaces can add cozy warmth to a home and can be safe if the proper precautions are taken. Before lighting your fireplace, always make sure the damper is open and there is no cover on top of your chimney. Covers are sometimes left by a previous owner. If you have a gas starter, use a low flame setting at the start.
Be especially careful when burning artificial logs, be sure to light them properly, using only one at a time. Lighting them allover and using more than one log creates extreme heat causing them to burn too quickly. If you have a metal fireplace, it may warp or force the seams to break open, allowing the fire to burn into the wall.
One safety feature we encourage is glass doors or a screen to insure that hot cinders do not pop onto the floor. If your fireplace has glass doors added to a metal insert, make sure that the fireplace manufacturer approves them for use on that type of fireplace. If you already have gas logs in your fireplace, be sure the damper is open when using them since the fumes need to be vented.
Fireplace owners should also make sure their chimneys are free of creosote deposits before lighting a fire. Even small deposits should be removed; they are an indication of more deposits on the smoke shelf where most chimney fires start. Chimney fires can lift burning creosote out of the chimney and onto the roof possibly spreading the fire to the rest of the house and even neighboring homes.
Removing ashes will be easier if you dampen the top layer with water using a plastic bottle with a spray nozzle.
Place wet newspapers over the trashcan or other container and simply lift up a corner as you deposit the ashes inside. The method helps contain the dust.
For an ash free fireplace, you may wish to install gas logs which can be easily installed if your have a gas starter.
Do not carry extra firewood into your home for storage, it may contain boring beetles and the heat inside may cause them to develop and emerge inside your home, which can become infested. Some types of wood boring beetles and Formosan termites can only be eradicated by fumigation, which is very expensive.
Last but not least, remember to keep the damper closed when the fireplace is not in use preventing loss of heating and cooling energy and keeping out birds. We strongly recommend a chimney cap, which will keep birds and animals out of your chimney and help to prevent premature deterioration of the chimney and firebox by stopping rainwater from entering your chimney.