SOURCE: Enviro-Log, Inc.

Enviro-Log, Inc.

September 13, 2010 11:56 ET

Enviro-Log Reminds Homeowners Not to Fall Back on Safety

Earth-Friendly Firelog Manufacturer Offers Tips to Keep You Safe When Staying Warm During the Cold-Weather Months

ATLANTA, GA--(Marketwire - September 13, 2010) - The first day of fall will arrive on September 22 this year, which means cooler temperatures that will have many of us looking for an economical way to heat our homes. However, before you fire up that furnace, fireplace or woodstove, warmth seekers should be familiar with some practical safety tips to avoid potential safety hazards that could cause property damage, injury or far worse. 

According to an August 2010 report issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), an estimated 1,800 fatal residential building fires occur annually in the U.S., resulting in an estimated average of 2,635 deaths, 725 injuries, and $196 million in property loss. The U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) also says that heating fires account for 36 percent of residential home fires in rural areas every year, and are often due to creosote buildup in chimneys and stovepipes. 

"The colder months are approaching quickly, and with high energy and fuel costs looming, many people will look for substitute sources to heat their homes, including fireplaces and woodstoves," said Ross McRoy, president of Enviro-Log®, Inc., an eco-friendly, consumer products and recycling company. "These are a common heat source in homes because they provide great ways to save money on your electric bill, but they can present safety challenges if the proper precautions are not taken."

Enviro-Log offers the following home heating tips to help you maintain a fire safe home during the cold-weather months:

  • Inspect your furnace. Be sure that your furnace is in good working condition. Be sure all furnace controls and emergency shutoffs are in proper working condition. Leave any furnace repairs to qualified specialists. Inspect the walls and ceiling near the furnace and along the chimney line. If the wall is hot or discolored, additional pipe insulation or clearance may be required. Check the flue pipe and pipe seams. Soot along or around seams can indicate a leak. All unused flue openings should be sealed with solid masonry. Keep trash and other combustibles away from the heating system.
  • Reduce creosote. Have your chimney professionally inspected annually and cleaned if necessary, especially if it has not been used in some time. Be sure to fix any cracks, blockages and leaks and clean out any build-up in the chimney that could start a fire. The USFA recommends that a wood-burning stove should be burned hot twice a day for 15 to 30 minutes to reduce the amount of creosote buildup. According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), creosote fires are estimated to involve 4 civilian deaths, 24 civilian injuries, and $33 million in direct property damage per year. Do not use excessive amounts of paper to build roaring fires in fireplaces. Overbuilding the fire could ignite creosote in the chimney. 
  • Safely burn fuels. Approved firestarter gels can be used when starting a fire. However, you should never use or add flammable liquids or gels to an existing fire, hot embers or a hot fireplace. You should also keep flammable materials such as debris and decorations away from your fireplace mantel. A spark from the fireplace could easily ignite these materials. Keep a glass or metal screen in front of the fireplace opening to prevent embers or sparks from escaping and to prevent unwanted material from going into the fireplace, and to help prevent the possibility of burns to individuals.
  • Ensure adequate clearance for wood stoves. Be sure your wood stove is installed properly. Wood stoves should have at least 36 inches of space from combustible surfaces. They should also have proper floor support and protection. Wood stoves should be of good quality, solid construction and design, and should be Underwriters Laboratories (UL®) listed.
  • Do not overbuild your fire. Avoid roaring fires. Build small, hot fires rather than large, smoldering ones, which can start chimney fires. Large fires can also lead to overheating of wall or roof materials.
  • Never leave any fire unattended. Make sure all fires are extinguished before going to bed or leaving the house. Soak hot ashes in water and place them in a metal container outside your home. Never close your damper with hot ashes in the fireplace. A closed damper can help rekindle the fire, forcing toxic carbon monoxide into the house. 
  • Install a smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector. Be sure every level of your home has a working smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector. When you purchase a smoke alarm, look for the UL Mark. The symbol indicates representative samples of the alarm have met UL's stringent safety standards;
    • You may need several smoke alarms to adequately protect your family and your apartment, condominium or house. Install at least one on every floor of your home, including the basement and outside each sleeping area;
    • If you or family members sleep with the bedroom door closed, install smoke alarms inside the bedroom; 
    • Some individuals, particularly children, older people, and those with special needs, may not wake up to the sound of a smoke alarm. You should be aware of this when developing a home fire escape plan;
    • Follow the manufacturer's instructions for installing smoke alarms; 
    • Test smoke alarms at least once a month;
    • Don't disconnect a smoke alarm or borrow the batteries;
    • Replace batteries in all smoke alarms twice a year;
    • Replace the smoke alarm every 10 years, or as the manufacturer recommends.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher handy. Fire extinguishers are portable and effective for both indoor and outdoor use. Be sure to follow the operating instructions and follow the PASS method when extinguishing a fire: Pull pin; Aim at base of fire; Squeeze handle; and Sweep from side-to-side. 
  • Protect the outside of your home. Stack firewood outdoors at least 30 feet away from your home. Make sure your roof is clear of leaves, pine needles and other debris. Cover your chimney with a mesh screen spark arrester. Remove branches hanging above the chimney, flues or vents.

About Enviro-Log, Inc. 
Enviro-Log® is an eco-friendly, consumer products and recycling company headquartered in Fitzgerald, Ga., and the third largest producer of manufactured firelogs in the U.S. Its firelogs are made of 100 percent recycled materials and burn cleaner than wood while generating 50 percent more heat. Enviro-Log firelogs can be purchased at select national retail locations including Home Depot, K-Mart, WholeFoods, Weis Markets, Fred Meyer, Harris Teeter, Winn-Dixie and regional retailers throughout the U.S. Enviro-Log firelogs are also available in Canada at Lowes, Wal-Mart, and Canadian Tire locations. The company also offers earth-friendly firestarters and accelerants. More information on Enviro-Log can be found at www.enviro-log.net or by calling (866) 343-6847. Retailers can also send an email to sales@enviro-log.net

Enviro-Log is a registered trademark of Enviro-Log, Inc. All other trademarks or registered trademarks are properties of their respective companies. 

Contact Information