Mike Croxall: Keep Your Fireplace Clean And Safe This Winter

Wednesday, November 8, 2017 - by Mike Croxall, president, Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga

Picture yourself hosting a gathering at your home during the holidays. The mental image you conjure most likely includes some delicious food, festive music and a roaring fire in the fireplace, right?

Building a fire creates a cozy atmosphere and adds an element of elegance. But whether yours is a wood-burning or gas-burning fireplace, each requires maintenance to ensure it is safe to use. So before you light a match or ignite the pilot light, consider the following:

Gas Fireplaces

A gas fireplace provides the comfort and style of a wood-burning unit, but they are more efficient and require far less maintenance. “Low-maintenance” does not mean “no-maintenance,” however, so it is best to have your gas fireplace inspected and adjusted by a professional on an annual basis.

Vented gas fireplaces expel exhaust gases (mainly water vapor and carbon dioxide) outside your home without a chimney. If your gas fireplace is vented, the flue or vent should be closed when the fireplace is not in use. And regardless of whether yours is a vented or ventless fireplace, it should never produce a gas odor (different from a burning smell). The smell of gas could indicate a problem. Immediately turn off the gas and report the problem to the gas company.

Wood-Burning Fireplaces

Hiring a professional chimney sweep at least once every one to five years (depending on how often you use it) is the best way to ensure it is safe to use. If you are in a newer home with a fresh air vent to supply the fireplace with combustion air, open it and the damper before you light your fire. Then remember to close both when you are not using the fireplace so warm air does not escape in the winter and cool air will not escape in the summer.

Building and Extinguishing Fires

A wood-burning fireplace should be equipped with andirons (or a grate) and a well-fitted screen. Fires should always be built on the andirons or grate — not directly on the fireplace floor. Seasoned hardwood is the best fuel. Do not burn pine logs in your fireplace, as they contain a tar that can accumulate in the chimney and become a fire hazard.

You should never leave a fire unattended for an extended period of time, and always ensure the fire is put out when you are finished enjoying it. To properly extinguish a fire in a wood-burning fireplace, begin by using your fireplace poker or shovel to spread out the wood and embers into a flattened mound. After the flames die out, cover the cooling wood and embers with a few scoops of ash. Once the fire is completely extinguished, you can sprinkle a thin layer of baking soda over the wood to ensure no embers are burning.

For more fireplace safety and home maintenance advice, or to find an appropriate contractor in your area, contact the Home Builders Association of Greater Chattanooga at www.hbagc.net or 423 624-9992.



Premier Property Group Sees "Explosive" Growth During First Quarter Of Business

Premier Property Group Inc., a full-service real estate firm in Chattanooga, has grown from the vision of owner and principal broker Christi Doll to a team of 15 agents representing residential and commercial clients in Tennessee and Georgia in just four months. The firm is poised to continue rapid growth as 2018 begins and the real estate market continues to surpass expectations, ... (click for more)

Steve Corder Of The Assessor Of Property's Office Retires

The Hamilton County Assessor of Property honored Steve Corder, Commercial Appraisal supervisor, this Tuesday on the occasion of his retirement after 33 years of service.  (click for more)

Snow Reaches Chattanooga on Tuesday Afternoon, But Brings Little Accumulation; Many Schools, Most Courts Closed Wednesday

Snow began falling in downtown Chattanooga early Tuesday afternoon, but there was little accumulation.  The National Weather Service issued a special statement on Tuesday night warning of icy roads. It says:  SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT UNTIL  9AM EST  WED ...VERY COLD TEMPERATURES AND PATCHY ICE ON ROADS THROUGH  WEDNESDAY MORNING... TEMPERATURES ... (click for more)

Young Gets 23 Years In North Chattanooga Murder

Abram "AB" Young pleaded guilty on Tuesday morning to a murder in North Chattanooga and was sentenced to 23 years in prison. Young was 17 at the time of the 2015 slaying of 19-year-old Charles Holsey during a drug deal behind the Kangaroo on Dallas Road. He is now 20. Prosecutor Cameron Williams said the sentence for second-degree murder will be served at 100 percent. Young ... (click for more)

Thank You, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thank you, Dr. King for stepping-out.  Thank you for your lasting voice to what it's all about. Thank you, Dr. King for  stepping up and also showing-up, ...when decisions were being made and  your refusal  to shut-up.  We find your fingerprints on both directions and toward progress.  your modeling, mentoring,  and reactions helps ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Once In A Blue…

On August 21st this past summer, four black women were walking down the street in Dayton, Tn., when a white man asked from his porch, “Are you ladies here to see the eclipse?” Told that yes, they most certainly were, the gentleman pointed to his back deck and another white couple and said, “If you don’t have plans, would you care to sit with us?” The ladies were delighted and ... (click for more)