As we plunge into winter weather, what could be cozier than relaxing in front of a fire in your own home? If you have a fireplace and intend to use it, there are some safety guidelines you should follow before that first fire.
Chimneys for wood-burning fireplaces should be cleaned once a year; for gas-burning fireplaces, it's once every two years. Believe it or not, there are professional chimney sweeps who will do it- find one near you through the Chimney Safety Institute of America. If you want to do it yourself, you'll want to check out tips for fireplace preparation at Homecrux. The list tells you what to inspect and how to recognize potential dangers. There are also tips on selecting the right firewood and making sure your home and family are safe from chimney fires, smoke, and stray embers. Once you've got everything checked and ready, this winter will be a cozy and safe one in front of the fire.
(Image credit: Robbie Sproule)