Is your home less than 50 years old? Was your home’s design one of a half a dozen new build designs in a planned neighborhood? Does your home have a fireplace or multiple fireplaces? Well, chances are your home features a factory-built fireplace.
Factory-built fireplaces – often called pre-fab fireplaces – are constructed and assembled in a factory where they must meet rigorous testing standards established by the Underwriters Laboratories and the American Gas Association. They are then transported to the building construction site and installed by a professional fireplace installer.
While properly installed, factory-built fireplaces have an excellent safety record, there are some things you should and shouldn’t do when operating your factory-built fireplace to keep your family and home safe.
Before you start a fire in your fireplace:
- Open the damper, so the fire will have proper air flow.
- Don’t overload the fireplace with too much firewood. Otherwise, a burning log could roll out.
- Always burn well-seasoned wood – never wet or green wood.
- Never burn your Christmas tree in your fireplace. A dry Christmas tree can cause a hot fire that may warp the metal used in the construction of your fireplace.
- Don’t use too much paper in your fireplace, especially paper with colored inks that contain harmful chemicals you could breathe in.
- Do not use flammable liquids, like gasoline, kerosene, lighter fluid, etc., to start a fire.
Once a fire is going:
- Close the screen to keep any sparks from flying out that could start a house fire or burn loved ones or pets.
- Close the glass doors only when the fire is almost out.
Other tips to heed:
- Never install a free-standing or insert-style wood stove into a factory-built fireplace and chimney system – unless the insert has been tested and listed for use in a factory-built fireplace AND it has been approved by the chimney system manufacturer (not just the stove manufacturer). Installing an insert that’s not designed to be used with your factory-built fireplace could cause a house fire.
- Have your factory-built fireplace inspected and cleaned at least once a year by a professional chimney sweep company, like T. J.’s Chimney Service. T. J.’s Chimney Service is certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America, a non-profit, educational organization that’s dedicated to chimney and venting system safety. Contact us today to schedule your annual, professional chimney inspection and cleaning.