Fall is in the air. Before taking the chill off with your fireplace, remember to have your chimney cleaned and inspected.
“Your chimney should be cleaned and inspected by a licensed, reputable service each year, which can help prevent fires,” said Kevin Bartal, safety coordinator for Virginia Farm Bureau. “Cleaning should include removal of all soot that has built up and any debris or nests that birds or animals may have built. It also should include a thorough inspection of the chimney for cracks, which can cause fire to spread from the chimney to your home.
During the heating season, keep the area around the hearth free of debris, decorations and flammable materials. Remove any branches or leaves from the roof or anywhere that could block the chimney.
Burn only seasoned, dry wood in fireplaces and wood-burning stoves, and always keep a fire extinguisher nearby.
All firewood should be stacked at least 30 feet away from the home. Do not use gasoline or other liquid fuels to start a fire, and never burn trash in a fireplace or wood stove.
Now also is the time to have heating units inspected. Hiring a reputable service company to perform necessary maintenance will ensure that everything is working like it should and also can save money on energy bills.
Additionally, check all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they are functioning properly. Replace the batteries when changing clocks back to standard time, and test each detector on a monthly basis.
Smoke detectors should be replaced after about 10 years, Bartal noted. Many local fire departments offer assistance with replacing and installing the devices.