It’s the time of year when a fireplace or woodstove take on a special kind of importance. Hazards lurk in the hearths and flues of all burning devices — and special care should be taken before attempting to create too much of a glow before checking the glow maker. Yes, chimney sweeps do make house calls in the snow.
Creosote is the byproduct of burning wood. This pasty black substance can cause a couple hazards. It is not only flammable, but can be explosive, as well. Have excesses removed. A clogged chimney or flue can fill your home with carbon monoxide — a poisonous gas that is odorless and tasteless. And don’t start a fire that will burn all night long. You might have a smoke detector, but why chance testing it on an ember that didn’t want to stay in the fireplace. Take an extra step for family safety.