Welcome to a brand new year, Los Angeles! Now that the holidays are wrapped up, we try to settle back into our routines and honor new resolutions. Nothing better than a cozy fireplace to burn off the post-holiday blues and comfort you during the colder months, true?
After weeks of festivities, it’s normal to have leftover party items around the house: Gift boxes, ribbons, wrapping paper, decorations, fruit cake… And some may think tossing these random odds and ends in the fireplace is a quick and convenient way to make the Christmas clutter disappear.
Please remember, your fireplace is not household incinerator. As you know, our work helps keep your home and neighborhood safe from chimney and dryer vent fires. After the recent wildfires in LA & Ventura counties, we thought it would be extra useful to share some important fireplace safety rules reminding you what you should never burn in your fireplace.
1- Paper Or Cardboard
The inks used in wrapping paper, newspaper inserts, glossy magazines, pizza boxes and other items contain metals that give off toxic fumes when burned. Paper burns very quickly and can easily float up the chimney. This is dangerous since flames that enter the chimney can ignite the creosote deposits in the flue. Furthermore, the hot air and pieces of burning paper can rise through the chimney and ignite flammable materials outside the home.
2- Processed Wood
Never burn painted, stained, treated wood or manufactured wood such as plywood and particleboard. These items contain various chemicals, which produce toxic and carcinogens fumes when burned.
3- Dryer Lint
Don’t burn dryer lint. Dryer lint may be an effective fire starter, but it can release toxic chemicals into your home and up your chimney.
4- Polypropylenes & Polystyrenes
Don’t burn any kind of plastics and Styrofoam. A toxic cocktail of fumes result from burning items like Styrofoam cups, plastic utensils, and remnants of household products in empty containers. Remember most, if not all, of these items can be recycled!
5- Fire Accelerants
Never use accelerants like gasoline, kerosene, or barbecue lighter fluid to start a fire in your fireplace. These highly flammable substances can produce unexpectedly large flare-ups.
6- Coal Or Charcoal
Don’t burn coal or charcoal in your fireplace. These fuels burn much hotter than wood and may exceed the temperature levels that are safe for your fireplace and chimney. They also produce much more carbon monoxide than properly seasoned wood does.
Don’t burn the Christmas tree! Your tree, wreath, and other evergreen decorations are not safe to burn in your fireplace. Some may enjoy the aroma and the sound, but dry evergreens are loaded with resin that burns very quickly and ‘pops’ producing embers that can rise through the chimney and start chimney fires.
We are here to help!
Following these recommendations helps keep your home and everyone in southern California safer from fires. If you have questions about your fireplace or chimney, don’t hesitate to ask the experts at The Chimney Sweeper! We believe it’s an important part of our job to educate our customers about their fireplaces, stoves and chimneys.