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5 Critical Things You Need to Know Before Starting A Fire In Your Fireplace

Yes, there are certain laws in place that

prohibit the use of fireplace on certain days. In

particular wood burning fireplaces cannot be used in Southern California on bad air days, or days with heavy air pollution. However, before you decide to use your fireplace make sure it is safe for use so you can have peace of mind. Here are the basic steps to take before starting your fireplace:

1. Physically inspect the inside of the fireplace. With a good flashlight begin looking for cracks, holes or missing mortar. Cracks or holes can allow a flame to get behind the wall of the fireplace and cause a house fire. Any crack you can slide a credit card through should be repaired before using the fireplace.

2. Open Damper and inspect the flue: The damper is the movable plate above the grate that allows airflow in and out of the chimney. You should use a mirror and your flashlight to make sure there's no obstruction or damaged areas. Other than soot, it should look pretty clear in that area. If not, contact a professional to address the issue.

3. Check for obstacles on the Smoke Shelf: The smoke shelf is the area behind the damper that is nearly level so it is capable of holding debris, like leaves or other debris that may fall into the chimney. This debris is usually combustible and if any sparks hit it you could have a fire in the chimney so it's worth taking the time to check the area. Don't forget to use gloves and slow movements so as not to cause a soot storm. If you have a factory built fireplace you probably will not have a smoke shelf.

4. Check the condition of the Grate: The

grate is the iron bed that holds the fire in the fireplace. Don't forget to look at it to see if it should be replaced due to damage or corrosion.

5. Check Chimney Spark Arrestor: An exterior spark arrestor should be installed at the top of every chimney to prevent flying sparks from igniting the roof or nearby trees. It is attached to the top of a chimney as shown and should be clearly visible from the ground.

If you need help making your fireplace safe or for general maintenance contact Right-Track @ 818-797-1388.

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