Gathering around the fireplace is a great winter tradition, but make sure you stay safe. We’d like to share these tips to keep the fire in the fireplace:
For the most efficient operation of a wood-burning fireplace, use only logs that have been properly dried for at least a year. Select wood such as oak, maple and hickory. If you are going to use your own pile of firewood, make sure that the logs are not moist or cracked. Logs that have been standing outdoors might be infested with termites, algae and other microorganisms that would release harmful toxins when thrown into fireplaces. Installing a smoke alarm near a fireplace is a good way to monitor open flames that might be producing too much carbon monoxide and other by-products.
Never use a wood-burning fireplace to get rid of cardboard, crates and other lumber that has been industrially processed. The chemicals on such items can be extremely dangerous when they are released in the form of gases at high temperatures. Similarly, ink and dye on printed-paper products also pose dangers when they are burned inside fireplaces. The moisture content of magazines and newspapers might be high enough to prevent wooden logs from burning properly. In other words, the combustion process might not be fully completed when different mixtures of lumber and processed paper products are thrown inside a fireplace.
Extinguishing a fireplace can be very dangerous, so make sure you wear fireproof material when handling any tools and objects near open flames. Ashes that are barely burning could still be very hot, so put them out with care. Pour water gently over any remaining firewood that is left inside the fireplace. It is important to prevent splashes that could burn any exposed skin. Take precautions to ensure that any debris from the fireplace does not get on a carpeted floor. Some of the contents might be extremely hot and possibly ignite carpets and upholstery of nearby furniture.