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Fireplace and chimney safety tips

As the winter season approaches, many people are looking forward to enjoying a warm fireplace during the colder Seattle months. Home fires occur more often in winter than in any other season.  By following these simple tips, you can enjoy the warmth and comfort of a cozy fire while also keeping your family and home safe.

Man on a roof next to a brick chimney

A dirty chimney can become a serious hazard, as creosote and other debris can build up and ignite, causing a chimney fire. This can quickly spread to the rest of the home, resulting in significant property damage, injuries, or even loss of life. Therefore, it’s essential to have your chimney inspected and cleaned by a certified professional annually.

A professional chimney sweep will thoroughly inspect your chimney, looking for any signs of damage, blockages, or other issues that can compromise the safety of your home. They will also use specialized tools and techniques to clean out any debris, ensuring that your chimney is free from creosote, soot, and other flammable materials. By taking these steps, you can enjoy a warm holiday season without the worry of potential hazards.

Additional safety steps

  • Once cleaned and inspected, make sure the damper or flue is open before starting a fire. Always keep the damper or flue open until the fire is completely out to draw smoke out of the house.
  • Avoid excess smoke and soot buildup in the chimney by using dry and well-aged wood.
  • Do not burn paper in your wood stove or fireplace, and only use fire starters specifically designed for fireplaces and wood stoves. 
  • Keep flammable materials such as furniture, curtains, and decorations at a safe distance from the fireplace.
  • Install a screen or a glass door in front of your fireplace to prevent sparks and embers from flying out.
  • Never leave a fire unattended and make sure the fire is completely out before leaving the house or going to bed.
  • Put fireplace tools, lighters and matches out of a children’s reach.
  • Make sure to test your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors monthly. Some smoke alarms detect both smoke and carbon monoxide. Learn more here:

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Wishing you a very safe, healthy and happy holiday season!

Picture of a snowperson wearing a santa hat with seattle blurred in the background