Outdoor fireplaces can be a great way to expand your living space into your porch or backyard in Tulsa. A crackling fire can offer a great social centerpiece, and its warmth can extend your outdoor season in cool weather. Before you get cookin’ though, prepare for success with these outdoor fireplace safety and maintenance tips!
Regularly Inspect Your Outdoor Fireplace
Particularly after the temperature fluctuations of winter, do a quick inspection of your outdoor fireplace before lighting it up. Even the best fireplaces can experience wear from weather and extreme heat, so look for any cracks or crumbling.
If your fireplace is equipped with a gas feature, carefully inspect all burners, lines, and valves. If any of these parts appear to be rusted or cracked, have a professional come to repair them before attempting to use the fireplace.
Keep a Fire Extinguisher Handy
Even the best-laid outdoor fire may go awry, so it’s always a good idea to make sure a fire extinguisher is located close by and easily accessible. In the off chance you will ever need it, this can be crucial for protecting your family, friends, and property.
Keep it Clean
Look over the surrounding area for any other flammable objects or dry leaves that need to be removed, and check to make sure the chimney is clear. Spring is also a good time to remove any overgrowth of plant life that’s getting too close. You can also help protect against errant sparks with a metal “spark screen” that can be placed over or in front of your fire.
Before lighting a new fire, clean out any leaves and old ashes from your fireplace-shop-vacs work well-and use a stiff brush and warm soapy water to clean most exterior surfaces. If you have a wood-burning fireplace, check for black sooty buildup called creosote on the back of the hearth and in the chimney. Small amounts can often be tackled with commercial products like creosote cleaning logs, but if the buildup is more than 1/8 of an inch thick, contact a professional chimney sweep. If left untreated, this combustable accumulation can be quite dangerous and cause chimney fires!
Keep it Under Control
Start small. Always use always use appropriate fuel and kindling in your outdoor fireplace and don’t attempt to burn anything that doesn’t fit completely inside. Avoid using paper kindling that can light and blow away; use commercially available fire starters instead. These don’t let off sparks and often work wonders! Accelerants like lighter fluid are not necessary and can cause dangerous flare-ups.
Always Supervise The Fire
Supervise your Tulsa outdoor fireplace whenever it is in use, and always keep a close eye on any children and pets! Teach children to respect the fire, and remember that even the sides and back of your fireplace can be dangerously hot. Burn as much of the fuel as you can, and when you’re done, spread out the embers to cool a while before slowly dousing them with water.