Chimney and Fireplace Safety

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As the temperatures drop it’s a good time to remember the importance of fireplace and chimney safety.

Fire burning in fireplace

Before you toast more than your toes this year- remember fireplaces/chimneys require yearly maintenance!

7 tips to follow before you fire up the fireplace:

  1. The National Fire Protection Agency recommends that wood-burning chimneys be swept at the beginning of winter to remove soot and debris.
  2. The “chimney sweep” should inspect the structure of the chimney for structural cracks, loose bricks, or missing mortar.
  3. The “sweep” should also check the liner for cracks and deterioration.
  4. Cap the top of the chimney with a wire mesh guard- to deter the neighborhood critters from visiting you unexpectedly.
  5. Know the difference between seasoned and greenwood.  Seasoned wood (cut at least 6 months prior) burns cleaner and doesn’t add to the dangerous build-up of creosote.  Green (newly cut) wood produces more creosote!  As a side note from years in real estate- never stack (and I mean never) stack wood next to your home.  Find a place away from the foundation to stack the wood because it will eventually attract wood-eating insects and critters looking for warmth.
  6. Learn how to build a safe fire.  Logs need to be at the back of the fireplace sitting on a metal grate.  Learn how to use kindling-not flammable liquids- to start the fire.
  7. Finally use a screen or doors to keep flying embers from damaging carpets and humans.


Like many things we do around our homes, taking the needed simple steps at the beginning of the season can make a huge difference later on.  If you need the name of a good “chimney sweep”-just let me know.

Resource: Chimney Safety Institute of America