Safety Tips for Using the Fireplace in Your Santa Cruz Home

Posted by Lauren Spencer on Sunday, January 29th, 2012 at 1:01am.

Is there anything cozier than enjoying a warm fire inside during the winter months? There is something primal about watching the flames of a contained fire that reaches back into our ancient human past.

If you’re lucky enough to have a fireplace or woodstove in your Santa Cruz home, please follow these precautions:

• Call in a chimney sweep. Every year, you should have your chimney cleaned to remove creosote buildup. This keeps air flow unobstructed and prevents a chimney fire, which would be devastating to your Santa Cruz home. A professional chimney sweep should also check for cracks in the flue liner and proper functioning of the damper.

• Inspect your chimney cap. The chimney cap keeps the rain and snow out of your flue. It also prevents birds or other animals from entering the flue. The sides of the chimney cap are wire mesh, which also needs to be kept clear of creosote. Otherwise air flow will be hampered and smoke will enter your home instead of being properly drawn up the chimney.

• Burn only dry, seasoned wood. Wood that has not been aged long enough will sputter, smolder and smoke, causing excess build up of creosote.

• Burn only untreated wood. Do not burn treated wood, plastic or other debris in your fireplace or woodstove. These give off toxic fumes you do not want inside your home.

• Wait until ashes are cool before removing them. If you try to clean out the fireplace or stove while there are live coals or embers in the ashes, they will give off smoke into your home while in the ash bucket. They could also result in burns, if dropped on the floor.

• Install a carbon monoxide detector. Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas produced during incomplete combustion. The only way to know if it is in your home is by using a detector.

• Keep the damper closed when not burning a fire. This will prevent the warm air from going up the chimney.

If you’re looking for a Santa Cruz home with a fireplace, I can help you buy one. Give me a call today at 831.662.6522 or email me at

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About Lauren Spencer

Award-Winning Santa Cruz REALTOR®

Lauren Spencer is your local real estate expert, specializing in Santa Cruz real estate and surrounding communities—this is where she lives, works, and plays too. Let her know your questions about the community and county and she'll be happy to fill you in on all you want to know! Lauren Spencer has consistently been voted best local REALTOR in Santa Cruz and is always happy to offer her advice and expertise. Call her at: 800.226.4717.

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