The temperatures are dropping and you can picture the fireplace with a nice flame and the crackling of the wood…pop pop… You are getting things ready for the season and you know you have to clean the fireplace, get the wood, a piece of newspaper, and some kindling. While you are gathering this, you have to leave the house unexpectedly and realize that you aren’t sure how to put out fire in fireplace. You will need to eliminate the things that keep the fire going which are fuel, heat, and oxygen.
Let’s take a look at the safest ways to put out a fireplace fire.
Understand What Keeps A Fire Going
We love when the fire keeps burning in the home for several hours. The home warms up and it is nice and toasty. However, there is a time we need to start thinking about putting the fire out and tucking in for the evening so we have to think about the combustion triangle. The triangle is made of fuel, heat, and oxygen and this is what is needed to keep it going. In order to extinguish it, one of these parts of the triangle must be removed.
Fuel – logs that are lit in the fireplace are the fuel for the fire. However, you can’t remove these as they will be too hot.
Heat – You can lower the heat and let it burn itself out, but this takes time. Also, you can’t put out the fire with water as this will cause smoke in the room and the ashes will also make a paste that you will need to clean.
Oxygen – this is the only way to safely put out a fire. Removing oxygen is the safest route.
Steps To Put The Fire Out
Step 1: Spread out the wood – spreading out this fuel and the fallen embers in the fireplace will reduce the heat. You can use a fireplace poker and this will allow the fire to go out quicker.
Step 2: Pile up the ash – the ashes should cover the embers and burning wood and put it out quicker. Your fireplace shovel can help do this.
Step 3: Use baking soda – this acts as oxygen so if it is on top of a fire, it will put it out. Fire extinguishers also use baking soda or sodium bicarbonate to put out fires.
Step 4: Play it safe – if you think the fire is out but then notice it may be starting again, you will want to add more ashes and baking soda. This will smother the wood and embers that are left.
Step 5: Clean up the fireplace – You will want to wait a few hours before you clean up the fire. Make sure you put the ashes and the debris in a metal container and keep this outside. It should be away from items that are flammable and it may take a few days for the ashes to cool completely.
What Are Some Safety Tips
In order to use the fireplace, you need to understand how it works and how to be safe.
- Fire logs or dry wood – use only these in a fire.
- Crack open a window – this is so the smoke can escape the room
- Flue is open – Before lighting the fire, make sure the flue is open. This is very important as the smoke and soot rise up and out of the fireplace and chimney through the flue.
- Damper open – important until the fire is completely out.
- Hearth area is clean – keep all combustible or flammable materials away from the hearth.
- 5 hour time limit – your fire shouldn’t be any longer than 5 hours as any more could cause damage or a fire that is out of control.
- Mesh screen closed – this is closed and the glass doors are open when the fireplace is in use.
- Fire extinguisher – you should always have one on hand in case you need it.
- Never leave the fireplace – always have someone watching the fire as embers can land on the floor and start a fire. Also never leave the home before the fire is completely off.
- Maintenance – clean and inspect the chimney and fireplace yearly.
Other Recommended Maintenance
Now that you know about putting out a fireplace fire, let’s take a look at a few other areas.
One of those is cleaning a gas fireplace. If you happen to have a fireplace in the home that is gas, you do need to clean it. This is because it can develop soot and grime on the glass and doors. You can do this with warm water, cloth rags, and fireplace glass cleaner.
The next area is the type of wood you use in the fireplace. Many people use pinewood as it burns easily, but finding a mixture of pinewood, fir, birch, oak, and maple is best if possible.
Lastly, as you are cleaning your fireplace, you may notice some water damage in the home or smell mold or a musty smell. After water damage, mold can grow within 24-48 hours and take over within 12 days. It is important if you think there is mold to contact a specialist.
When Do I Call A Professional
It is a good idea to call a professional chimney sweep company to come out and clean the chimney. They have the tools necessary to start on top of the roof and clean the chimney out, as well as clean the unit. They also can let you know if there is anything you need to be aware of.
Also, have a local home inspection team come out to do a full inspection before you do your fireplace cleaning. This will allow you to know what other projects you may need to do.
Fireplaces are a nice amenity in a home, but like other things, it needs to be used carefully. Having an understanding of how to start a fire and put out a fireplace fire is important. You want time to enjoy it as well so make sure you have the time in your schedule.
Maintaining the fireplace and chimney is important year-round so make sure everything is working as it should. Contact your local home inspection company for a referral for a chimney sweep. In addition, call on Gray Home Inspections for a complete home inspection in Jacksonville, FL, and surrounding areas.