During the cold winter months, few things are more comforting than relaxing in front of a warm fire. Wood burning fireplaces are a great way to enjoy an energy-efficient method of heating your home. However, these types of fireplaces come with some potential dangers if not used properly.

Install a Fireplace Screen

Invest in a piece of functional fine art by purchasing and installing a fireplace screen. Not only can this item create a beautiful effect in front of a lit fire, but it can also help camouflage the ash and soot on the hearth when your fireplace is not in use. These screens are also practical because they help keep more embers from floating out into your living space.

Have Your Chimney Inspected and Cleaned

Blockages in your chimney can be the result of a variety of problems, including animal nests, infestations and a buildup of leaves, twigs and dirt. Lighting a fire with a clogged chimney could cause your home to fill with smoke and can even start a house fire. Hire a professional to inspect and, if necessary, sweep your chimney when cooler weather arrives.

Store Your Firewood Responsibly

While it makes sense to store firewood close to your fireplace for easy access, you’ll want to do so carefully. It’s important to reduce the risk of having the flames spread out of the fireplace and onto the floor of your home. Firewood that’s cut and ready to use should be stored in a closed container a few feet away from direct heat. Make sure that you thoroughly inspect the logs you choose before you bring them into your home. They can harbor insects and pests, which can cause their own set of problems.

Before you light the first fire of the season, make sure you’ve made safety your first priority.

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