Fireplace Safety for the Holidays

Fireplace Safety for the Holidays
By: Arnold Wyrick

CARTERVILLE, Ill. - Whether it's a wood burning fireplace or gas fireplace, there's one thing Mike Eaders at Fire Masters recommends you do before lighting a fire.  Make sure the flue is clear of any blockage.
"First of all, you need to worry about creosote from the previous year," Eaders said. "Make sure that's cleaned out so you don't have a build up from there.  Then you've got to worry about if you've had animals birds or a squirrel or even insects, that hornets didn't build a nest.  You've just got to make sure that it's clean."
If your chimney isn't clear then Eaders says you're going to know real quick that you've got a problem.
"If a wood burning fireplace is not drawing properly you know pretty quick because you get a house full of smoke.  If it's gas log that isn't burning properly you don't know it because it's carbon monoxide that you're getting, instead of soot."
That's why Eaders says every home needs to have a smoke alarm and a carbon monoxide tester.
Before settling in to enjoy a roaring fire this holiday season, make sure you've given plenty of space around the fireplace.
"The amount of heat if you put it too close to the wall then your two by four framing, your sheet rock everything else is just going to over time dry out, smolder and cause a house fire if you're not careful."
Eaders says a good rule of thumb is at least three feet of space between any flammable items and the fireplace.