Lounging in front of a crackling wood fire is a great way to relax on a cold winter's evening. But what happens to the fire when you go to bed? How do you make sure sparks don't fly and cause a fire?
Sam and Claudia Halsey, owners of Yankee Doodle Inc. Stove and Fireplace Center in Wilton, Conn., said fireplace doors offer the best protection against flying sparks. "Close the doors at night when you go to bed after the fire has died down," says Claudia. The doors are designed to be kept open while the fire is burning. The glass can become brittle and shatter when exposed to excessive heat. Keeping the doors closed when you're not burning a fire will also save energy by preventing heat from being lost up the chimney.
Some fireplaces have a weak draft, he adds, which can cause smoky odors in a home. Fireplace doors can help prevent smoke at the start and end of a fire.
Yankee Doodle carries several brands of fireplace doors, all of which are made-to-order because fireplaces come in all shapes and sizes. Customers are encouraged to visit the store to select a style and finish. Claudia says the dark powder-coated finishes are most popular.
If you prefer the look of an open fireplace and aren't concerned about energy loss, a fire screen will offer protection from sparks and falling logs. Owners of extra-large fireplaces should look at a new style of screen with built-in doors that allow access to the fire without having to move the screen.
Incorrectly disposing of wood ashes can be a serious matter. This was the cause of a recent fire in Stamford, Conn., that destroyed a home and killed five people. Ashes must be placed in a metal ash can and stored outdoors until they are completely cold, a process that can take several days. Keep ashes away from anything combustible, such as old paint cans or cleaning supplies. And never store cooling ashes in the garage, on a deck or inside a porch.
Next time you light a fire at home, keep these safety tips in mind. You don't want that relaxing evening to turn into a nighttime tragedy.