About 22,000 house fires a year start because of fireplace, wood stove or chimney issues—causing an estimated $93 million in residential property loss, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. These tips will help keep your home fires burning safely:
1. Keep it clean
Have your chimney inspected and cleaned annually by a certified professional before you use it. Creosote buildup in chimneys—caused by the byproducts from burning wood—is highly combustible.
2. Use dry wood
Burn only dry, well-seasoned wood. Soft, moist wood increases creosote buildup in the chimney. Cardboard boxes and trash also cause heavy creosote buildup.
3. Follow the three-foot rule
Keep a three-foot area around the fireplace that’s clear of anything that can burn, such as decorations, toys and furniture, in case an ember flies into the room. Children and pets should not play in this area.
4. Shield your room from the fire
Use a metal mesh screen to prevent sparks from flying into the room. Glass doors shouldn’t be closed while there is a fire in your fireplace because the heat can break the glass. Only a mesh screen or curtain should be used for spark protection.