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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

How to Properly Use a Fireplace

11/9/2017 (Permalink)

Here we would like to share some information on proper usage of a fireplace in your home. When the weather gets colder nothing beats cozying up to the warm fire, however, one mistake can cause a fire or smoke throughout your home. Here are some safety tips everyone using a fireplace should know.

Keeping Safe:

Always make sure your fire extinguisher, smoke detector, and carbon monoxide detector have been recently tested and are in working order. You’ll want to remove any flammable materials within 3 feet of your fireplace. Make sure you keep regular maintenance of your chimney to be sure there is no blockage in the flue.

Opening the Damper and Priming the Flue:

The damper inside the flue when opened will allow the smoke to travel up and out of the chimney. You can adjust the damper as needed by using the handle located inside of the chimney. You can check that it opened by sticking your head in the flue and looking upwards. If you feel cold air then you must prime the flue or in other words pre-heat the flue. The draft could otherwise blow smoke into the room. To warm the flue, simply light a roll of newspaper and hold it against the open damper.

Building the Fire:

Always use the proper gloves and a fire poker when preparing the fire. Start by placing pieces of wood at the bottom of the fireplace in a row and continue to pile the wood on in layers alternating directions. The stack should take up the height of the fireplace. Make sure smaller pieces are at the top and proceed to light the stack with a single match. The fire should travel downward.


A bed of ashes between 1-2 inches in the fireplace will act as insulation for the next fire. Beware that coals may take several hours or even days to cool down. To remove ash, use a metal shovel to scoop ashes into a metal container with a tight lid and keep it outside away from the house, garage, and deck.

If ever there is the unfortunate event of a fire please keep SERVPRO of Garden City/Hempstead in mind as we are available 24/7 to help you in your time of need!

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