How Can You Safely Use Your Fireplace?
Aside from giving Santa Claus an entry point to your home, fireplaces create a welcoming living space. They also make for a great heat source when there’s frigid weather outside. With Texas energy prices still high and recession rumors circling, heating your home will be more expensive this winter. More people will turn to using fireplaces, wood stoves, or other solid fuel to heat their homes. Of course, using your fireplace will keep your electric bill down. But make sure you maintain good fireplace safety practices this winter.
Fireplaces aren’t as energy efficient as you might think. The output you feel from the fire doesn’t match the energy created through burning. Yes, you don’t have to turn on your furnace when the family is gathered around the fireplace. However, most of the heat the fire produces goes straight up the chimney. True, many Texans were grateful to have fireplaces during the Big Texas Freeze of 2021. But some folks tragically lost their homes to house fires because something went wrong.
5 Tips For Fireplace Safety
Follow these fireplace safety tips to keep your home warm and safe…and firefighters bored:
- Have your chimney inspected. A professional chimney cleaning company should check your chimney each year. Their staff can tell you whether yours need cleaning or repairs. The last thing you want to do is start a fire in an unsafe chimney.
- Use aged and dry wood. When you buy firewood, it was probably cut down a couple years ago. This is because dry wood burns better and produces less creosote which can cause a chimney fire when ignited. Don’t use the limbs you cut down this summer. Wet wood is tough to light and produces excessive smoke which may not all go up your chimney.
- Keep flammable items away. Modern building codes require fireplaces to be a certain size relative to the firebox. However, older homes may not conform to modern specifications. Make sure flammable items like rugs, stored firewood, and Christmas stockings are a safe distance from the flames.
- Clean out ashes properly. A fire can reignite well after the ashes appear to have died out. Clean out ashes with a shovel and place them in a metal container. Do not use a vacuum cleaner until several days after the fire has gone out.
- Open the flue before you light the fire. We’ve all made the mistake of not checking the flue before lighting the fire. In the mad rush to open it while the fire is going, many things can go wrong. Use a flashlight to check the flue before each fire.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it is a great start. Nationwide Insurance and HGTV also have great tips on fireplace safety.
Low Electric Bills
Your fireplace and Texas Electricity Ratings can help you keep your power bill low this winter. Shop for power plans at https://www.texaselectricityratings.com to find plans that suit your home’s power usage. This way, your power plan rate works for you!