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How To Enjoy The Fireplace And Not Burn Down The House

By James Dahlberg on March 10, 2010

One third of homes in the United States are heated with fuel-fired heat. This refers to fireplaces, wood burning stoves, inserts and other fuel-fired appliances. According to the United States Fire Administration, 36% of residential home fires in rural areas are caused by this type of heating. So can we heat our homes without burning down the house? Yes!Properly maintaining our fireplaces and stoves, burning the right fuels, protecting the inside and outside of our homes will allow us to safely and efficiently heat our homes. Here we will be looking at the maintenance of fireplaces. Have your fireplace or wood stove inspected by a certified chimney specialist annually. This is the most important thing we can do to stop the potential fires. The specialist will look for a variety of indicators: creosote buildup in the flue or stove pipe, loose or missing bricks or grout in the masonry structure of hearth and flue, and proper cleaning and reinstallation of the chimney cap. Keep air inlets on wood stoves open, and never restrict air supply to fireplaces.

When a gas starter is used it needs to be checked for proper valves, connections and pipe. Fireplace inserts need maintenance by checking all internal components: door seal, firebricks, fans, and flue vent pipe if used. Most importantly are the Smoke Alarm and a Carbon Monoxide Detector battery check every 6 months. Please remember that detectors are a must, but an annual chimney check can help prevent carbon monoxide from entering the home in the first place. The best resource to find a professional is Chimney Safety Institute of America. The site gives you a handy locater by zip code for local professionals.Another safety consideration is the storage of your firewood. While this may seem somewhat simplistic, by using good practices your wood will be in good order and ready for easy usage. The first temptation when it is being delivered is to have the wood dumped in the backyard somewhere and bring it into the house as needed. The risk you run is of not knowing the true amount of product received.

Typically your wood provider will, for an additional fee, stack the wood. This allows you to get a tape measure and pay for what you get. I believe a courtesy to tell the provider that is how payment will be made. Know what you are buying, a cord, a rick, or a face cord. A cord is 4x4x8 foot. A rick is understood as 2x4x8 foot or one-half of a cord. A face cord has many possible meanings. It still measures like a cord but the length of the wood cut varies, 12 to 18 inches in length. So the number of four foot high by four foot long stacks will change to the length of wood cut provided. Just remember the stack should measure 128 cubic feet. Define this prior to delivery. This is a standard measurement in the industry. Unstacked wood invites all sorts of unfriendly critters from snakes, spiders, and mice to even termites. Stack the wood off the ground by simply turning wood pieces long ways and stacking the wood on top.

Commercial log holders are available for sale made of pipe or angle steel. If you are bringing in 2 to 3 cords use something easy like a t-post on each end to stack against. Also for convenience use a log holder by the fireplace in the house. Bring in an arm full, put it in the log holder and you will be good to go for the night. Proper stacking will allow for good air circulation of the wood pile. Also, use an inexpensive blue tarp to protect from rain or snow.Knowing what to look for when buying wood can be helpful. Four indicators of good dry wood are: color, bark, checks and touch of the wood. Most wood will change color to a gray when drying. This will be most evident when wood is seasoned for longer than one year. The bark is dry and easily falls off the piece of wood. The ends of the cut pieces have checks in them.

This is where the piece itself looks like it is breaking apart. The wood itself feels dry to the touch. Moisture content should not exceed 15 to 20 percent. This can be accomplished by buying in the spring, stacking and letting the wood continue to dry throughout the summer months.Have the fireplace or stove checked by a professional. Use smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Buy quality split seasoned wood, stack it and use log holders and enjoy a warm cup of cocoa in front of your beautiful fireplace.

Hi, I am James Dahlberg, owner of http://www.FireplaceAccessoriesPlus.com website. I have had commercial experience in the firewood industry for over 25 years. Please visit our website at http:/www.FireplaceAccessoriesPlus.com or contact at [email protected] /* */ . Thank You.

Original article published on SooperArticles.com

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