10 Tips for a Roaring Good Time

Summer was all about the deck at our new place and winter is going to be about the fireplace. Lately, folks have been recommending I throw a few sprigs of lavender or a couple pine cones into the fire to add a little extra to the winter warmth. I'm a Smokey the Bear type and feel that these little extras cause a few too many sparks for my liking. Alternatively, I'm going to try adding a few drops of essential oils of pine, cypress, sandalwood or cedarwood onto the logs before the fire. I'll keep you posted.

So, before you burn the house down, here are a few tips for ensuring a safe fireside chat:
  1. Service your fireplace and chimney in the spring and summer months.
  2. Artificial logs are an easy alternative to wood burning. Most undergo laboratory testing for low emissions.
  3. Before you light your fire, make sure the flue is open otherwise the smoke won't escape, hence, leaving your room, and you, smelling like a campfire.
  4. Have a screen that completely covers the fireplace to prevent sparks from hitting the floor beyond the hearth.
  5. Burn clean, dry, seasoned (aged 6-12 months) firewood only.
  6. Use a mix of hard wood and soft wood where possible, depending on what’s available in your area.
  7. Avoid wet or green wood. The moisture in these can cause creosote build up in your system. Creosote is a highly flammable material.
  8. Never burn garbage, plastics, particle board, driftwood, painted or treated wood.
  9. Burn small and hot fires. This style of burning uses more fuel but doing so causes less smoke, pollution and soot deposits in your system. More reason for seasonal cleaning and inspection.
  10. Never leave a fire burning when you go to bed. Separate burning logs and place them in the fireplace corners to keep the fire from burning longer.