Last updated: January 9, 2018

5 Tips for a Wood-Burning Fireplace

Winter is just around the corner and it’s fast approaching the time when that fireplace will come in handy. Wood-burning fireplaces are a great feature to showcase a living room or den. Even better, they can significantly reduce the cost of heating your home during the coldest months of the winter.

Be careful, though, wood-burning fireplaces must be maintained and looked after properly, or they can present a fire risk to your home. Here are five tips for your wood-burning fireplace.

Tip #1: Safety First

The first thing that you should think about when deciding on whether to install a wood-burning fireplace into your home is safety. That’s true for homeowners that already have a fireplace, as well. Safety is the paramount concern, because when your fireplace is being used, you have a live flame in your home. When a wood log pops, it can send out a scatter of embers, which present a fire risk.

Make sure the fire is safely away from any flammable objects and has a protective screen to keep it separate. In addition, ensure that the flue is working properly to keep the air in your home fresh and safe. Finally, make sure that smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are regularly checked for batteries and operation.

Tip #2: Cleaning & Maintenance

Your fireplace will need regular cleaning, particularly after the winter months when it likely saw the greatest use. Clean out buildup of ash at the bottom of the fireplace regularly. Each year, after the cold months, have a certified chimney sweep inspect your fireplace and chimney. A big sign that your chimney and its flue are not working properly is if any smoke escapes from the chimney and enters the room.

Tip #3: Lighting A Fire

Do not use chemicals to light the wood in your fireplace. They can potentially release dangerous chemicals into your home. In addition, these chemicals can leave a residue in your hearth that is more difficult to remove. Instead, start your fire with long fireplace matches for safety and dry kindling. Give the fireplace plenty of air by opening up the air controls until the fire is nice and full.

Tip #4: Selecting the Right Type of Wood

It’s important to only to burn seasoned wood. This is wood that has been allowed to dry out over the course of several months, potentially up to a year. Green wood has a much higher moisture content and will smoke heavily when burned. You can easily tell which logs are seasoned and which are not by banging them together. Seasoned logs will have a sharp ringing sound, while green wood will have a dull thud.

Also, split your wood to make it easier to burn in your fireplace.

Tip #5: Heating for the Entire Home

Without any assistance, the warm air from your fireplace will likely stay in the room where the fire is located. You can help heat the rest of your home with a few simple techniques. First, turn on your ceiling fans and adjust the rotation to counterclockwise on low speed. That will push the warm air at the ceiling back down into the room. Ensure your insulation is properly installed in your crawlspace to avoid heat loss. Finally, keep doors in common areas open to allow the heat to travel easily from room to room.

Pacific Union Financial

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