Homeowners have discovered the charm of outdoor fireplaces and fire pits, woodstoves, freestanding heaters, chiminea, and even freestanding outdoor pizza ovens! These features have become popular in all kinds of homes. Condominium communities are incorporating these features into common area amenities, and some townhome owners are making them parts of their open air decks, and patios. Owners of single family style homes use these to create park like experiences in their yards.
It’s no surprise! Outdoor spaces add to the dimension of your home and to your living experience in both a home and community. Outdoor fireplaces are terribly romantic. Fire pits make for great gathering and conversation spots. Poolside BBQs are filled with summer fun. Chiminea are delightfully decorative. Freestanding pizza ovens add a little bit of culinary adventure to the making of a delicious dinner.
This is also an excellent opportunity to send a reminder about the care, keeping and maintenance of fireplaces inside the home. Fireside living rooms and bedroom suites are popular features in Atlanta homes. As with other systems, these too require attention. It’s important that these be checked, cleaned, and repaired. A few helpful notes with examples of the usual suggestions follow…
* Call on an experienced chimney sweep before the first winter season in your home, and routinely thereafter. A visual inspection, professional cleaning, and the completion of any repairs are all important. Your local chimney expert should also be able to help educate you about this aspect of your home.
* Learn about your fireplace and chimney because design, features, type of fuel, and condition may vary from home to home. Do you have or need a chimney cap or any screening protection?
* Keep your home furnishings at least 3′ (or 36″) from the fireplace as a safety measure. …and consult your insurance company for additional information about how best to prevent fire. Your local fire department should be an excellent resource, and your insurance company may also publish suggestions as a part of their customer education and outreach.
* Open the damper when the fire place in use.
* Ask for the recommendations of your chimney expert regarding a fireplace insert, and if this a good idea for your home’s system. Do you need a screen to help prevent the release of sparks or embers?
* Be careful when stoking a fire, and always use fireplace tools to handle hot or burning logs. Remember that fireplace coals can remain hot enough to start a fire for days after use. With this in mind, be very cautious about the removal of ashes. Never use a vacuum for this purpose. Consider wearing a mask to protect your respiratory health.
* Never leave children unattended in or around any fire-based feature in use.
* If your fireplace is designed with a gas starter or uses gas logs, be sure to consult the Atlanta Gas Light website, and talk with your gas provider about safe use and maintenance.
* Check in with your homeowner’s association and property management team. Ask about how they provide information to owners and residents within the community including fire safety reminders. Check in with your neighbors, and share safety information with those around you too.
As you dream on ideas for adding any kind of feature that includes fire, be sure your plans are allowed within the law, governing ordinances, and the rules of your community and association. Secure any permits and permissions. Check in also with your insurance agent and review your coverage. Touch base with your local fire department for their guidance. Attend to the care, keeping and good maintenance of your systems. Practice safety always. …and ENJOY!
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