When the weather is cold, few experiences warm your soul – or your home – as effectively as sitting in front of a crackling fire. But if you’ve ever avoided building an evening fire in your wood-burning fireplace because you didn’t want to wait up for the embers to go out, you might appreciate Scott Harrison’s ingenuity.
Harrison, of Leawood, Kan., faced the typical dilemma of fireplace owners: What do you do when it’s time for bed, the embers are still glowing and you can’t close the flue against the cold? Typically, homeowners either avoid building a fire later in the day, stay up with the fire until the embers die down, or leave the flue open all night, thereby losing all the heat benefits of building a fire in the first place.
It’s not just a question of convenience and comfort; safety is a key issue, as well. Half of all home heating fires are reported during the winter months of December, January and February, according to the National Fire Protection Association. More than 33 percent of Americans depend on fuel-fired sources like fireplaces for the primary heat source in their homes, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. The USFA also says homeowners should extinguish a fire before going to bed or leaving the house.
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