OSEA Safety Blog

Fire Place Safety

Tuesday, November 28, 2017 Michele Pratt

As the weather gets colder many of us are using our fireplaces as a heat source. How do you keep yourself and your family safe?

Looking outside of your home.

If you are unable to see well to check your chimney use a pair of binoculars to check the chimney cap from the ground.

Make sure:

  • You don’t have crumbling or missing bricks and mortar.
  • You can’t see a bird nest or debris buildup on the cap.
  • You don’t have any tree limbs above or near the chimney.
  • The chimney rises at least 2 feet above where it exits the roof.
  • The chimney crown — the sloping cement shoulders at the top of the chimney — is beveled, which helps air flow.
  • The chimney is plumb and not leaning to one side or the other.
  • The roof flashing is tight against the chimney.
  • The flue liner is visible above the chimney crown

If you have any issues in question call a licensed chimney professional or mason to fix the problem.

Looking Inside Your Home

With a flashlight, inspect the flue damper to make sure it opens, closes, and seals properly.

You can lose a tremendous amount of heat from the home when the fireplace isn’t in use if the damper doesn’t have a good seal
With the damper open, check the flue for any animal nests or other foreign objects. You should be able to see daylight at the top.
Check the fireplace surround, hearth, and firebox to make sure there aren’t any cracked bricks or missing mortar. Check for obvious signs of moisture inside the firebox, which could mean a faulty cap.

Inspecting a Gas-Burning Fireplace

We enjoy gas fireplaces because they are so easy to use, but you should still check them for the following:

  • Turn the gas off at the shut-off valve and test the igniter.
  • Inspect the glass doors for cracks or latch issues.
  • Check that gas logs are in the proper position.
  • Ignite the fire and look for clogged burner holes. If present, turn off gas and clear obstructions with a pin or needle.
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