Are wood burning fireplaces safe?
Technically speaking there is no absolute safety, if your approach to safety norms is lackadaisical. Even the most touted electric fireplace can pose dangers if the wiring is damaged due to wear and tear or due to rat menace.
Frequent maintenance is a key component of fireplace safety, especially wood burning fireplace. In US, most house fires are caused by improper maintenance. Creosote buildup and embers from unscreened chimney are two major causes of fire hazard. If your room gets filled with smoke when the fireplace is ‘ON’ that indicates the problem of ‘downdraft’ (or backdraft). Under normal circumstances, the fireplaces vent the smoke outside the home (through chimney)and draw cold air from the house. But, what if the fireplace does just the reverse? In such circumstances, the fireplace draws cold air from outside (through the chimney) and lets out smoke inside the house. This smoke (Carbon Monoxide) inhalation is hazardous in nature. Though this is a dangerous preposition, it can be easily fixed and downdraft prevented. Some fireplace models have a smoke and carbon monoxide alarms that could help prevent their buildup.
Apart from carbon monoxide inhalation (it can even cause death in some cases) an improperly maintained (or installed and operated) fireplace can be a fire hazard. Smoke escaping from the firebox into the house is an indication of fireplace malfunctioning.
Components to be checked:
- All masonry work like Fire and Flue liners
- Operation of damper, and proper opening and closing of damper door.
- Checking and removal of creosote buildup and debis.
- Use of hard woods or factory-made logs for burning greatly reduces the process of creosote buildup,.
- To ensure that the fireplace is operating safely, you can undertake these checks by yourself or call the technician , right now.