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5 Fireplace Facts to Know this Fall

Posted On November 22, 2018

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Getting cozy by the fire after Thanksgiving dinner?  According to Zillow, fireplaces are one of the most sought-after home features.  In addition to heating your home and enhancing your décor, a fireplace may actually add value to your home.  Before you fire up this holiday season, here are the answers to the top five fireplace questions:

 

Which type of fireplace is more efficient as a heat source?

This depends on the type of fireplace.  Wood-burning fireplaces are inefficient as a source of heat, because almost all of the heat escapes through the chimney.  Additionally, a fireplace located outside of a wall is even less efficient because it is competing with cold air.  Gas fireplaces are more efficient as far as fireplaces go.

What are the best safety precautions for a wood-burning fire?

If you have a wood-burning fireplace, you should have your chimney inspected at least every year, before you light your first fire.  Always make sure to clear all of the old ashes or debris before use, make sure they are cool too!  Experts recommend using seasoned hardwood that has been split and dried for at least six months, but the longer the better.  You’ll be able to tell if it’s seasoned hardwood by the cracks at the end and the hollow sound they make when knocked together.  Always prime the flue before lighting, use a tightly rolled sheet of newspaper and hold it toward the open damper for a minute or two until you see the smoke rising up the flue. 

Are fireplaces safe?

Fireplaces can be safe, when you exert the proper precaution.  Keep flammable objects away from your fireplace.  Contain embers with a mesh or metal screen whenever the fire is lit.  Complete regular safety inspections of not only your fireplace but your fire extinguisher, smoke detectors, and other safety tools.  When in use, the area surrounding the fire will be hot!  Warn children to stay away from safety screens, and do not clean out your fireplace until after it has had time to cool.  

Is it bad if I can smell my gas fireplace?

Gas fireplaces are supposed to smell because of an additive in propane that helps us detect gas leaks.  If your fireplace is vent-free it should come with an oxygen depletion sensor that will extinguish the flame when too much carbon monoxide is detected.  Make sure you have carbon monoxide detectors installed and test them once a month.

When should I clean my chimney?

All of the soot and debris that builds up in your chimney is a fire hazard since it restricts airflow and causes smoke to back fill.  Most professionals recommend cleaning your chimney when the residue has built up to about 1/8 of an inch.  

 

Wishing everyone a safe and relaxing Thanksgiving!

 

Sources: Zillow