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Fireplace safety: Where there's soot, there may soon be fire

Professional chimney sweeps say any soot deposits more than a quarter-inch thick present a fire hazard.

The soot, called creosote, is one of the top reasons for the thousands of fires involving fireplaces each year, according to the National Fire Protection Association. Creosote is flammable and should be cleaned out annually if the fireplace is used regularly.

Find a National Chimney Sweep Guild Certified chimney sweep.

* Have a cap installed at the top of the chimney to keep it from becoming blocked by birds, animals or debris.

* Use clean-burning wood. Hardwoods like oak burn cleaner than softer woods like pine. Dried wood burns cleaner than green.

* Follow directions when using manufactured firelogs. Use one at a time. Don't crack or break manufactured logs. This will release energy at a high rate, resulting in a shorter burn time. Firelogs create less creosote than wood.

* Make a fire that fits the fireplace. If it's too big or too hot, it wastes fuel and can crack the chimney.

* If the fireplace has glass doors, leave them open while burning a firelog to allow air circulation and cleaner burning.

* Always use a fireplace screen.

* Keep a fire extinguisher on hand and have smoke detectors throughout the house.

* Use kindling to start a fire. Never use flammable liquid.

* When building a fire, place logs at the rear of the fireplace, preferably on a grate.

* Don't burn anything but wood in the fireplace. Never burn a Christmas tree.

* Keep the area around the fireplace and chimney clear of flammables.

This story was posted on 2021-12-30 22:03:59
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