What can be better than the crackling of a fire in your fireplace on a cold winter’s night? However, your fireplace, if not properly maintained, can be a danger to your home and family. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), between 2007 and 2011, fireplaces, chimneys and chimney connectors accounted for 38% of home heating fires and caused $195 million worth of property damage in 2011 alone.

What can you do to keep your home and family safe? More than half of fireplace, chimney and chimney connector fires involve failure to clean as a factor contributing to ignition. Proper maintenance of your fireplace and chimney is critical.

The Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association (HPBA) recommends the following safety and maintenance tips for your wood-burning fireplace.

When it comes to house fires, better safe than sorry. Take steps today to make sure your fireplace is properly maintained.