1. Are you choosing your wood wisely?
Where you’r getting your wood counts. Many shops do not have proper store procedures for the wood which causes it to contain more water and moisture then it should. The ideal wood contain between 20-30% water for it to burn at its best. Seasoned wood is the ideal. You can season your own wood by purchasing it ahead of time, and letting the elements dry it and evaporate moisture without exposing it to water.
2. Clean and Inspect yearly.
There are many contributing factors that can affect the proper heating and safety of an in door fireplace. In particular the propagation of carbon monoxide that can be dispersed in the room or excessive build up of creosote. Have it inspected and cleaned annually.
3. Put a lid on it.
In a previous post we discussed several components of the fireplace one of them being a cap. This will greatly increase the livelihood of your fireplace by protecting it from outside elements while heat and smoke is not going up the chimney.
4. Check the Ash tray regularly.
We all love to see the dancing of flames In our cast iron fireplace and we might over look small important tasks that make all the difference. One of these is to clean the ashes that have been left behind. Other wise it can contribute to pollutants build up that can be harmful and produce odor.
5. Inspect your Smoke Alarms regularly
When was the last time you tested your smoke detector? Make it part of the cleaning and safety inspection of the house and test them at least every other month.
6. Invest in a Spark Screener
This small accessory goes a long way in protecting your home. It blocks any sparks from the fireplace that could start a fire. Don’t leave it to chance always be prepared.
7. Prevent Creosote
If you have a good safety practice and execute tip No 2 effectively of yearly inspection and cleaning you won’t have to worry about it to much. Other wise the wood that is being burnt secretes gases that have not be exhausted yet and attach themselves to one another around the flue of the chimney. After time it creates a paste type substance that is flammable and if not properly treated can be extremely dangerous. In minor cases of creosote buildup a proper sweeping will clear it. In advanced stages of the build up chemical treatment is the only solution.