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Fire in the hearth
As the winter approaches, the fireplace heats up in action. With a warm fire burning in the hearth and a cup of coffee in hand, winter is a special season on its own. But having been left out of action since last winter, its only correct to have it cleaned up before use.
Check out your fireplace before you start a fire. The chimney may have been clogged, which will fill your room with smoke. During the absence of fire on the hearth, mouses and birds may have built their nests. Have a good inspection before you do anything else. Also soot may have built up in the chimney. This is called creosote and letting this continue to build up can lead to a backup of combustion residue that can produce carbon monoxide. Soot also can flake off and fall into the hearth, eventually settling in other parts of the house. Creoste is something you really want to get rid of.
Only burn safe substances in the fireplace. These include dry wood and wax-based artificial logs that can be purchased from the store. Do not throw in any kind of garbage or debris, or you might experience a nasty explosion or toxic fumes.
Use your hearth tools correctly. Remove ashes after each use. Use a small broom or shovel and dustpan to scrape dust and cinders as well as unconsumed residue from the hearth. This prevents a buildup and potential mess if the debris is allowed to accumulate over time. Use a fire screen when the fire is burning to prevent popping cinders from landing on the carpet or nearby object and causing burn damage. Use a poker, a long, metal instrument, to sort flaming logs or restore life to dying embers.
Never leave a fireplace unattended while it is still burning. When it goes out, close the doors (if your hearth has any) or poke the cinders to be sure no embers remain that could spark and start a fire while you sleep.
Enjoy the warmth of the fire in the winter and ensure the safety of your home and family with the above mentioned pointes.

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