The holiday season should be a joyful time. It brings family and friends together over scrumptious meals, shared traditions and other holiday festivities. As you enjoy the holidays, don’t forget to keep the well-being of your household in mind. Learn more about common health and safety fireplace hazards to keep your loved ones happy and healthy this holiday season.
Nothing is quite as cozy and inviting as a crackling fire in the fireplace. It sets the holiday scene perfectly. Before you light the fireplace for the first winter fire, make sure it’s had its annual maintenance inspection. You want to make sure there isn’t creosote buildup or anything else in the chimney that could hinder venting. Contact a professional chimney cleaning service to give the chimney and fireplace a thorough cleaning.
Fires Sparked by Stockings Hung on the Mantel
Stockings hung from the fireplace mantel is a popular holiday decorating technique, but it’s not always the safest. If you use your fireplace during the holiday season, look for another location to display stockings such as a staircase or bookshelves. All it takes is for one spark to escape from a roaring fire and land on a stocking to start a fire.
Here are some other tips to keep in mind to prevent house fires caused by fireplaces:
- Never leave the fireplace unattended.
- Put out fires when leaving the house or going to bed for the night.
- Choose firewood carefully and stick with split hardwood options.
Overloaded Electrical Outlets
Holiday lights instantly make any space more festive, adorning trees, staircases, mantels, entryways and more! When hanging holiday lights, be careful about overloading electrical outlets. Residential outlets are rated to handle 15-20 amps. If the lights plugged into a single circuit exceed the amp restrictions, the risk of electrical fire rises.
Avoid overloading electrical circuits by using fewer extension cords. If your extension cord usage has increased over the years, and you don’t want to cut back on your holiday lights, consider installing dedicated outlets for holiday decorations. Dedicated circuits increase your home’s power and prevent tripped circuits and electrical hazard.
You already know that overloaded circuits can cause electrical fires, but other holiday hazards put your home at risk too. Keep your home safe and secure during the holiday season by doing the following:
- Avoid light clusters to prevent wire coatings from overheating and catching fire.
- Never attach lights using nails, screws, staples, or other materials that can damage the cord’s insulation.
- Inspect light strands for signs of damage such as fraying or cracked wiring.
- Replace damaged light strands.
- Unplug all holiday lights before leaving the house or going to bed.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide is a clear, odorless gas that causes illness or death when inhaled. While the threat of carbon monoxide exists year-round, there’s an uptick in carbon monoxide poisoning during the winter season. Experts link fireplace usage to carbon monoxide illness and fatalities because of the following problems:
- Chimney obstruction.
- Damaged chimney connector pipe.
- Rusty heat exchanger.
- Poor reverse airflow.
The above reasons are why it’s important to schedule a chimney inspection each year before using the fireplace for the season. Problems caught early are fixable and prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
Installing carbon monoxide detectors is also crucial to preventing carbon monoxide deaths. These detectors are similar to smoke alarms and alert the household when unhealthy levels of carbon monoxide exist in the house. You should install a detector outside of each bedroom and on every floor in the house. Check the batteries as often as you check your smoke detector batteries.
At Rooftop Chimney Sweeps, we want you to enjoy the holiday season with your loved ones worry-free. Fireplace and electrical safety aren’t necessarily fun to think about, but they keep everyone in your household safe. To learn more about fixing health and safety fireplace hazards, contact us today.