Just about everyone is ready once spring arrives to break out and get outdoors. We all know that warmer weather means a need for extra caution with outdoor fires, but not enough people consider what it means for indoor fire safety. The days may be warmer and sunnier (finally!), but spring nights remain chilly in many parts of the country and fireplaces are still in use

1. Beware of Downdrafts

With warmer temperatures outside, chimneys can end up drawing air into the house instead of expelling it as it should.  That, by itself, presents a dangerous situation, with the potential for carbon monoxide poisoning if no sensor alarms are in place. It also means that heated air from the fireplace is staying in the chimney rather than passing through it. Creosote accumulates and ignites more quickly and easily under these conditions. Warm weather fireplace use is accordingly more dangerous, and the same extra caution we exercise outdoors needs to be brought indoors as well.

2. Keep Your Nose Peeled For Soot Odors and Smoke

Fortunately, the above-mentioned downdraft will also produce that unmistakable smell of soot wafting from the fireplace. It’s not exactly a pleasant smell, but at least it alerts homeowners to the problem and usually causes them to open their windows.

3. Keep A Window or Windows Cracked

That could be life-saving in a well-insulated, air-tight home if toxic gases are being back-drafted into the house. Even in non-threatening circumstances, this is a glaring indication of the need for extra care and to schedule a chimney seeping as soon as possible. Either way, a better air flow will help the smoke and gases go up the chimney rather than out of the mouth of the fireplace.

4. Burn the Right Fire Wood

Fire safety begins with the wood you burn! Hopefully, you haven’t run out of the dry, seasoned wood you’ve been burning all winter. But if you have to get a new supply of firewood to make it through the last cold stretches of spring, make sure you follow these tips:

Never use, green, wet, wood. It will not only burn inefficiently, but will increase creosote buildup.

Stay away from resinous wood. This type of wood burns with heavy smoke, which creates a higher volume of creosote accumulation. Besides the fire hazards associated with creosote, it’s buildup can also damage the masonry in the chimney which can be a very expensive repair.

Also, never use scrap wood, like from a construction site. These woods tend to be coated in chemicals that are designed to preserve the wood, but are harmful when breathed by humans. The wood that you do want to use are hardwoods like oak, hickory, maple and ash. These woods burn much cleaner.

5. Schedule a Chimney Inspection and Chimney Cleaning with American Chimney & Masonry

If your fireplace use is winding down, now is the perfect time for us come in and do a full inspection and cleaning. Do it soon and make sure your home is safe and you can relax during the upcoming spring and summer.  When fall comes you will be ready for another season of cozy nights by the fire.

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6. Schedule a Vent and Duct Cleaning

Dryer vents can accumulate highly flammable lint particles, and this only gets more dangerous as the weather gets warmer. Don’t put it off! Summer will be here soon, and you want to be able to relax and have fun with your family.

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