The winter season changes our behaviour drastically; we adapt our routines to get through the colder months more comfortably. This can be anything from wrapping up in warmer clothing to heating our homes more. One change that some families make is the use of wood fires to heat their living rooms. This tends to be an effort to create a more comforting environment that has a ‘cozy’ feel to it. Most homes have central heating now, but the addition of a wood fire gives a more traditional and homely feel during winter. This article will go through some tips on how to set up your wood fire safely and efficiently.
First off you need to source your fuel and make sure it is stored correctly. You can buy pre-cut logs from hardware stores, garden centers and garages. Alternatively you can cut down or source your own firewood. This may take more effort but the results are free and often worth it. The main point to remember is that however you source your firewood you have to make sure that it is stored in a dry place. This would preferably be indoors; as logs that are left outside usually absorb moisture and do not burn well. Having moist firewood also lets off a lot of steam and smoke when burning. If you do not have room to store all of your wood indoors then at least try and have a ‘holding area’. This is where you let the wood dry off for a few days before actually burning it. A lot of people have a small stockpile next to their fire for this purpose.
If you decide to cut your own wood then safety needs to be a priority. Making sure your equipment is up to scratch and you’ve properly protected yourself is vital. The most common tool used for cutting firewood is a chainsaw. You should always give your chainsaw a full safety check before you start to use it. This involves checking the oil levels, fuel levels and chain condition. You’ll also want to wear protective gear in case there is a slip or malfunction. Chainsaw safety gear ranges from ear plugs/protectors to fully lined chainsaw pants. Specially made clothing such as chainsaw pants and jackets contain complex layers of protective materials. These are designed to entangle and minimize the damage of a saw upon impact. They will not completely guard you from harm, but they may save you from losing a limb.
If you decide to cut your own firewood make sure you are protected and the equipment you’re using is safe.
When actually using your open fire you should make sure that a fireplace screen or spark guard is present. This will stop “flying” embers from scorching your flooring and furniture. Sometimes when the burning wood is slightly moist the water will expand and cause violent popping and crackling embers. A screen will see that these do not harm you or your possessions. An open fire can be a comforting and enjoyable addition to any home. However it is important to make sure that both you and your possessions are safe.
This article was written by Peter McAllister who works for SGM. They are a groundcare company that supply protective clothing such as chainsaw safety gear amongst other products see their range at http://www.sgm-uk.com/arboriculture-forestry.html.