/EINPresswire.com/ Online home heating solutions retailer PortableFireplace.com offers suggestions for proper fireplace maintenance in time for winter, when over 54,000 homes fall victim to fires annually.

The cold seasons are here, and households everywhere are igniting their fireplaces and turning on their space heaters to evade chilly weather. And with the cold climate comes many timely reminders of the overlooked dangers of fireplaces. The United States Fire Administration reports that, on average, 54,000 home-heating-related fires occur every year around the country.

The tragedy of these events stems from the acknowledgement that these fires were likely avoidable with proper maintenance.

John Hoang, co-owner of PortableFireplace.com, is sending out newsletters to former and current customers to remind them to take care of their fireplaces.

When asked what homeowners can do to prepare themselves for fireplace use, Hoang says:

“We suggest you get your fireplace checked by a professional. For a wood-burning fireplace, with a flue and chimney, the biggest problem is creosote buildup. Shine a light up your chimney and look for fuzzy or shiny black stuff. Creosote looks fuzzy initially, like black mold. After a while, it looks shiny. If you see shiny black stuff in your chimney – that’s highly flammable, and you need to clean that professionally before using your fireplace.”

Hoang continues:

“Sometimes birds and squirrels will make a home in your fireplace. Their nests are flammable, but a nest is something that you can probably clean out on your own. You can also slow creosote buildup by using the right wood: burning soft or fresh woods gives off more moisture than burning seasoned hardwoods like maple. Moisture creates creosote.”

For electric fireplaces and space heaters, maintenance is less complex but is equally important.

“Electric fireplaces are easier to take care of, but you’re still dealing with a heat source, so ensure that you set up your portable heater 3 feet away from any flammable objects. Turn off your space heater every few hours so it’s not always running. And make sure that the outlets you plug your unit into are working properly!”

About: PortableFireplace.com offers a large catalog of electric fireplaces and fireplace accessories. They also offer fireplace tips and design ideas.

Media Contact:
Mike Bowman
STL Online Stores

PR courtesy of Online PR Media: http://bit.ly/tntPo7