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Have a Safe Holiday Season with the Help of Valley Chimney 

With the holidays and cold weather around the corner, homeowners are antsy to use their fireplace. Valley Chimney can help make sure your family and loved ones stay safe this holiday season and can still enjoy a cozy fire. We’re sharing some helpful safety tips for your fireplace this winter.

Have Your Chimney Swept & Inspected Before the Holidays

We know you want to enjoy a holiday movie next to a cozy fire, but you really shouldn’t start your fireplace until you’ve had your chimney swept and inspected by a trusted Chimney Sweep like Valley. There may not be problems at first, but the longer you use your fireplace the more dangerous it becomes if it was never cleaned before. When the buildup remains inside the hot chimney for a long time, it can combust and cause a chimney fire.

Keep Flammable Things Away From Your Fireplace

Keep wrapping paper, cardboard, and any Christmas tree trimmings away from the fireplace. These materials can easily ignite combustibles in the chimney and burn super hot. Remember, your fireplace is not a trash incinerator, so don’t burn anything other than wood, or whatever fuel it’s designed to use in it.

We also recommend keeping stockings, wrapped gifts, holiday decorations, and more at least three feet away from your fireplace, especially if it’s in use. These flammable items can get too hot and catch on fire when your fireplace is in use.

Even though having a fire going with the stockings hanging down and presents near the fireplace is a pretty sight, it can be dangerous, and it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Use a Spark Screen When Enjoying the Fire

Larger sparks can jump out of the fire, land on nearby combustibles, and catch them on fire. Not only are sparks dangerous to combustibles but they can also hurt kids, pets, and anyone nearby. The best way to prevent those sparks from exiting the fireplace and starting a house fire is to have a spark screen installed and pulled shut in front of your fireplace.

If you don’t have a spark screen on your fireplace, Valley Chimney can install one so you can remain safe.

Watch Out For Cracks & Breaks

Before starting your fireplace, give it a good look over and check for any cracks, breaks, peeling paint, or discoloration. Hearths and mantels are some of the things that can catch fire easily. Usually, the hearth or mantle will start to discolor over time as it dries out from the heat of the fire. You may notice some of the paint or wood cracking as well. This can be a sign of fire coming, so make sure you are keeping an eye out for it.

Look For Excess or Consistent Smoke

When you have a wood-burning fireplace, you can always expect some smoke to appear, but if you can visually see the smoke in the air, there may be a bigger problem ahead, like a leak or something smoldering in the chimney. When we inspect chimneys, we’ll find charred wood and burned areas that might not have caught on fire, but they were about to. Consistent smoke in the house when using the fireplace could be a cause of this.

Inspect Your Dryer Vent Annually

Lint is one of the biggest concerns with gas dryers, and the heat produced by the dryer. Lint is very flammable and can catch your dryer on fire more easily than electric ones because they get hotter. You should have your dryer vent checked annually for lint buildup and cleaned if you have a gas-powered dryer. By having the dryer vent checked, you don’t have to worry about a fire and the damage it can cause.

Remember, fireplace and chimney cleanings aren’t a task you can take on yourself. Contact a trusted chimney sweep like Valley Chimney and schedule your inspection today.

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