Important Fireplace Inspection Rules

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 261,699
    Rob Neale, from the United States Fire Administration, will demonstrate how to inspect a fireplace before making the first fire of the season.

    Rob Neale: We are going to talk about how to inspect the fireplace to make sure that it is safe.

    Now first thing you are going to want to do is take a look at the fireplace itself and make sure that aren't any obvious cracks or problem with it. We don't want any heat that would escape the firebox, where it might cause a problem.

    Now another thing that's very, very important that we want to make sure we have is a nice metal grate or a screen like this. It catches any sparks that might fly out of the fireplace and prevents them from landing on nearby combustibles.

    Here is a pile of newspaper that we've left by the fireplace. Now it's handy to have obviously to start the fire, but in case of a fire we don't want to have a pile of newspapers. So we are just going to pick these up, get them out of the way.

    Now this handle that you see here that actually controls the damper on this fireplace. Now the purpose of the damper is to regulate the amount of air that flows through the chimney. One of the problems that a lot of people have is they forget to open the damper when they are going to start a fire, so we want to make sure that this damper is in the open position.

    Remember that on some modern fireplaces, the damper control is typically inside the firebox. Now let's take a quick look up the chimney just to make sure that there is nothing there. Take flashlight and get up there and take a look, make sure it is clear and you can see all the way to the sky.

    Often times with the first fire of the season, you might find that there is a problem in the chimney. It's not uncommon for birds or squirrels to build nest in there and cause an obstruction in the fireplace flue stack. So make sure that it's clear and you can see all the way to the sky.

    And with those few tips you should be able to enjoy your fireplace this winter and stay nice and warm and nice and safe.