Fireplace and Woodstove Safety Reminders 

It’s that time of year again when New Englanders consider putting away their flip-flops and start to fire up their woodstove or fireplace for the much welcome cooler nights. The crackle of the flames, the smell of freshly cut wood, or the glow of the flames is pretty mesmerizing and relaxing. 
Don’t let the radiant glow of the flames lull you into complacency in regard to maintenance and safety measures that homeowners should take regularly. Fireplaces and wood-burning stoves, despite their homey feel and appearance, can be the cause of severe injury and catastrophic damage to homes. According to the National Fire Protection Association, heating equipment such as stoves, space heaters, fireplaces, and wood stoves are some of the leading causes of fires across our nation annually. 
Here are a few reminders before the fireplace season begins in order to keep your home and family safe. 
Maintain Fire Safety Equipment
When was the last time you checked your smoke detectors in your home? If you can’t remember, take a few minutes now to replace the batteries and do a quick test that they are working. Instant Alarm offers wireless and internet monitoring options for your home fire detectors and smoke alarms. Talk to our team today about how your alarm system and fire system can alert you to a variety of risks 24/7 with our monitoring station. 
​​Test all the smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms in your home once a month and replace your batteries every six months. 
Clean and Maintain Your Chimney 
Chimneys that are used regularly can collect a chemical called creosote, which over time coats the inside of your chimney. Creosote is flammable and a build-up on the interior walls of your chimney can be a fire hazard. 
Avoid this potential fire risk by scheduling an annual cleaning and inspection of the chimney. A professional can identify any issues with the flue, chimney cap, and creosote build-up that could put you, your family, and your home in danger. 
Burn the Right Fuel 
The EPA recommends only burning wood that has been properly stored and seasoned for at least six months. Hardwoods such as maple, beech, ash, hickory, or oak are best. Seasoned wood burns cleaner, heats more efficiently, and produces less smoke and creosote.
Things to avoid burning are cardboard, paper, and paper products that can release embers and cause fire risks inside your home. 
Care for the Ashes 
After an evening of fire gazing it is tempting to pack it in and groggily head to bed. Unfortunately, even hours after a fire has gone out, the embers can remain hot and at risk. Use an appropriate ash vacuum meant for fireplaces and wood stoves to remove your ashes or use a metal shovel and store them in a metal bucket outdoors. 
According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, you want to “leave about an inch of ash in the bottom of your firebox. This actually helps your fires to burn better and protects your wood stove or fireplace from the fire itself.”
Use the Right Tools 
Whether you have a wood-burning stove or fireplace, you should invest in the right tools to handle your fire. This includes using a fireplace screen, fire protective mats on the floor under and around your stove or fireplace, fire protectant gloves, and non-flammable tools for building, stoking, and adding wood to your fire.
Talk to Instant Alarm technicians about our home security systems that include carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors that can give your family early warning should something go wrong with your fireplace or woodstove. 
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