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Winter is obviously the time when we use our chimneys the most. As the nights get colder, gathering around a fire is the perfect way to spend the evening. However, we want to make sure you are doing so safely and have put together some tips to make sure this happens.

Safety Tips for using the Fireplace and Chimney

  1. Make sure you have your chimney inspected and cleaned before using if you have not already done so. With last winter being so mild, many homeowners have decided to skip their annual cleaning. This is not recommended. Extreme weather, water, and wildlife may have affected either the performance or integrity of the chimney over the spring and summer. Just to be safe, have it checked.
  2. Check outside the home to make sure the area around the top of the chimney is clear from trees and debris.
  3. Install a chimney cap if you do not already have one in place. This will prevent debris, water, and animals from getting into the chimney, but will also stop embers from flying out of the chimney.
  4. Make sure your the damper is completely open before starting a fire. The damper should remain open after the fire is out until all of the ashes have cooled.
  5. Do not use accelerants such as lighter fluid or charcoal lighter to start your fire. This is extremely dangerous and could result in an explosion.
  6. If you are using artificial logs instead of real wood, please follow the usage directions on the side of the package, as they can have very specific lighting and burning guidelines.
  7. Do not burn paper in your fireplace. The embers can travel up and out of the chimney (if you do not have a chimney cap) or can actually leave the fireplace and start a fire inside the home (if you do not have a fireplace screen).
  8. Use only as much wood as you need for the fire. Do not stack the wood to high  to create a “roaring” fire, as it can actually send flames up into the chimney and ignite any creosote buildup in the chimney liner.