If you’ve gotten your chimney prepared with a Woodstock chimney cleaning and inspection, you should be set for winter fireplace use. But it’s important that you’re using the fireplace safely to avoid any problems or danger. Advanced Chimney Sweeps offers safety tips to use your fireplace properly this winter.

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Use Proper Firewood

First, decide if you’ll be cutting and preparing your own wood or if you’ll be buying it. If you’re buying, make sure to buy local. Many areas have special rules in place so that you aren’t bringing wood and pests in that aren’t native to the area. You also want to make sure the wood has been stored in a dry place for at least six months.

It’s preferable to use a dense wood, such as oak, in your fireplace. Softer woods like pine produce more creosote when you burn them, leading to a faster buildup in your chimney. You’ll have to get your chimney cleaned more often. Get a moisture meter to make sure the wood will burn well. The moisture content should be 20% or less to ensure it’ll burn correctly.

If you’re going to cut your own wood, you want to make sure the pieces fit in your fireplace correctly. The diameter should be six inches or less so that it burns well. Stack your wood with the split side down and don’t store it directly on the ground. It needs to be covered to stay dry. Softwood needs to sit for a minimum of six months before burning, and hardwood needs at least 12 months.

Don’t Overload the Fireplace

You want enough wood to have a warm fire, but you don’t want to overload your fireplace. Large fires give off more smoke and creosote, and high heat can crack your chimney, leading to a need for chimney repair. Place the logs correctly in the fireplace, making sure they’re open and your fire can get a lot of oxygen.

When you’re starting your fire, don’t use flammable liquids to start it. These can make the flames leap and the fire can become too hot. Kindling should be more than enough to start your fire. Place that and a few pieces of wood in the fireplace to start. You don’t want an overwhelming amount of wood or the fire may not have enough oxygen to start.

Keep Things Clear

A spark guard is recommended to keep things safe. It’s simply a mesh or glass barrier so that embers can’t leap out of the fire and out into the room you’re in. Make sure that furniture and other things aren’t sitting too close to the fire. If you’re using the fireplace, utilize ceiling fans to make sure the air is circulating around the room.

Woodstock Chimney Cleaning and Services

Make sure your chimney is free of debris and is safe to use in your home. Call us or obtain a free estimate online.