Fireplace Use Instructions
Please carefully follow these instructions when lighting a fire to avoid causing smoke and odor (or more serious problems) in your unit and other units in your tier.
- Turn off and keep off all kitchen and bathroom fans.
- Crack and KEEP CRACKED an exterior door or window near the fireplace ½ to ¾ inches wide.
- Open the flue.
- Preheat the flue by lighting the wad or wads of newspaper for several minutes, because the smoke will not rise properly into a cold metal flue. This may be particularly difficult (if not impossible) on very cold or windy nights. The lower the level of your unit, the greater is the length of time the flue must be pre-heated.
- Light the fire. Please use DURAFLAME-type logs, which have caused fewer smoke and odor problems that real wood during tests in the building. If you nevertheless choose to use wood, please use only seasoned hardwood (oak, ash, maple, and apple) that is at least one year old.
- Keep the kitchen and bathroom fans off while the fire is burning. The fan will draw any smoke escaping from the fireplace and quickly circulate it throughout your unit.
KEEP THE EXTERIOR DOOR OR WINDOW CRACKED OPEN until your fire is completely out. You can expect that some residual smoke will normally enter the unit as your fire subsides and the force that updraft is diminished.
This guidance is consistent with the fireplace manufacturer’s and consulting engineer’s instructions for Woodley Plaza. Failure to comply may result in $500 fine assessed to the responsible unit owners, in addition to the cost of repairs due to smoke or other damage to any unit or common elements.
Chimney cleaning is recommended every other year to ensure the buildup of creosote in the chimney does not create a fire hazard. There are a number of chimney cleaning services in the Metro DC area. The costs associated with chimney cleaning are covered by unit owners, not by the building.