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Winter Fireplace Safety Tips

Temperatures so frigid they’re dominating national news have gripped the northeast; that means homeowners across Maryland are igniting their fireplaces to help keep their homes toasty. With fireplaces in peak use, home fires and carbon monoxide become more prevalent. To keep your home and your family safe, you should be employing some wintertime fireplace safety tips. Winter Fireplace Safety Tips - Waldorf MD - Tri County Hearth & Patio

Only burn your fireplace’s intended fuel.

Rule No. 1 for fireplace safety is to never burn anything other than your fireplace’s intended fuel in the fireplace. Wood-burning fireplaces should only burn wood. Pellets belong in pellet stoves. Nothing should be placed on top of gas logs. When you burn other items in your fireplace, whether it’s cardboard, wrapping paper or the remainder of your Christmas tree, you risk an unexpected spike in temperature that could damage your chimney or spark a chimney fire, faster than usual buildup of debris in your chimney or the creation of carbon monoxide in your home.

Keep the fire in the fireplace.

Keeping the fire in the fireplace sounds like a no-brainer, but this isn’t always as easy as it seems. In an open-hearth fireplace, embers can pop and fly out of the fireplace, sudden downdrafts can blow burning ashes and logs out of the fireplace or logs can shift and fall forward out of the firebox. Consider installing fire-safe glass doors in your fireplace that can be closed to keep the fire in its place, or use a mesh spark guard to keep embers from flying out of the fireplace and into your home.

Keep flammable items away from the fireplace.

Do you know the safe distance around a fireplace? All flammable items should be kept at least 3 feet away from the fireplace. Items placed too close to a fireplace can ignite due to an errant spark. Even with closed fireplace systems, including gas fireplaces and fireplace inserts, the extreme heat can cause nearby items to ignite. Furnishings, décor, and papers should be kept more than 3 feet from the fireplace. Encourage children to observe the 3-foot rule to avoid burns.

Place ashes in a closed, firesafe container.

The ashes you remove from your fireplace can cause a fire hazard, too. Embers can remain hot more than 24 hours after your fire last burned. When you clean your fireplace, place ashes in a metal box with a tight-fitting lid. Wait a few days to be sure that ashes have fully cooled before bagging ashes for disposal.

Have your fireplace cleaned and inspected annually.

Fire safety begins with your annual chimney sweeping and inspection. The chimney sweeping ensures that dangerous, fire-causing creosote has been removed from the chimney, along with any blockages that could ignite or cause a backflow of smoke and carbon monoxide. Your chimney inspection verifies that there aren’t any weaknesses or malfunctions in the fireplace or chimney system that could cause a fire or carbon monoxide buildup.

If you need the tools to keep your fireplace safe this winter, stop by Tri-County Hearth & Patio today! We carry fireplace tools and accessories, spark guards and fireplace doors to help protect your home from the risk of a hearth-related fire.

By Joshua Kelly | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Heat Your Home with a Woodstove

Did you know you could heat your home in a low-cost, energy-efficient, environmentally-friendly way? Well, you can, with a wood-burning stove! There are several reasons you should consider heating your home with a woodstove.

Woodstoves produce a lot of heat. Heat Your Home with a Woodstove Image - Waldorf MD - Tri- County Hearth

Depending on the type of woodstove you choose, you can almost entirely replace your furnace with a woodstove! Woodstoves come in a variety of sizes to heat almost any space. They can even be attached to your home’s heating ductwork to pump heat throughout your home, rather in to one centralized room. Or, you can increase your home’s energy efficiency with zone heating: When you install a woodstove in the most used parts of your home, you can concentrate heat there and turn the thermostat down for the rooms that require less heat.

Woodstoves are energy efficient.

Wood fires often get a bad rap for being inefficient. While it’s true that open-hearth fireplaces and some older models of woodstoves and fireplace inserts aren’t the most energy efficient home-heating options, EPA-certified woodstoves are incredibly environmentally friendly! EPA-certified wood stoves use either catalytic converters or the stove’s own high temperatures to burn as much of the wood and smoke as possible. As a result, these woodstoves operate at as much as a 65 to 83 percent efficiency rate.

Woodstoves are environmentally friendly.

Again, wood fires often have a bad reputation when it comes to pollution, but newer woodstoves defy this convention. They are designed to burn up as much smoke as possible. In fact, EPA-certified wood stoves emit little particulate matter into the atmosphere. And wood carries the added environmental benefits of being a renewable source of heat.

Wood is an affordable heating source.

One of the biggest benefits of using a woodstove to heat their home is the cost of the fuel. For those who are willing to put in the work of chopping and storing their own wood, the fuel they use to heat their home costs only their time, and perhaps an investment in tools. Even for those who procure their wood elsewhere, wood tends to be incredibly cost effective when purchased by the cord. Scrap wood that is still a great source of firewood often can be purchased at a discount rate.

Woodstoves can be placed nearly anywhere within a home.

Woodstoves are incredibly versatile and can be placed nearly anywhere within the home. They require only enough space, and easy access for a pipe chimney to exit through a wall or roof.

If you’re ready to lower your home heating bills and heat your home in a way that is efficient, affordable, environmentally friendly — and beautiful — it’s time to consider a woodstove. If you want to learn more about heating your home with a woodstove, and about choosing the right woodstove for your home, stop by the Tri-County Hearth & Patio showroom today to talk to one of our hearth experts and see some of the beautiful woodstoves we carry.

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Tri-County Hearth & Patio Center | 2475 Old Washington Road Waldorf, Maryland 20601