The chilly winter months are a wonderful time for enjoying a warm and cozy fire in the fireplace. Fire safety involves making sure furniture is at a safe distance, the flames are extinguished properly, and ashes are discarded safely. Keep your fireplace safe to protect your property from being damaged by live flames.
Fireplace Safety Tips
It’s easy to keep your fireplace safe when you incorporate some important, yet simple, steps into your regular home maintenance routine. Have your chimney inspected to find and address small structural issues before they become bigger problems. Installing heat-resistant glass doors and burning the right types of firewood also decrease the chances of mishaps.
1. Inspect Your Chimney to Keep Your Fireplace Safe
Keeping your fireplace safe starts with inspecting the chimney for cracks, damage, or loose bricks that could compromise its structural integrity. Have defects repaired to prevent further damage. Make sure the chimney cap is free from obstructions and allows proper airflow. If you haven’t used your fireplace in a while, hire a professional for an inspection. Inspect and clean the chimney annually.
2. Clear the Surrounding Area
The fireplace becomes a hazard when furniture and other flammable items are too close to the flames. Keep the area around the fireplace cleared of curtains, rugs, holiday décor, and children’s toys. Objects should be at least three feet away from any open flame or heat source.
3. Use the Right Wood
Choose wood that is ideal to burn in a fireplace. Hardwoods are perfect for burning in a fireplace because they don’t pop or snap as much as other types of wood. Hardwoods also burn longer, hotter, and cleaner. Don’t burn wet or “green” wood because it creates more smoke. The high moisture content increases the amount of creosote that builds up in the chimney. Creosote buildup raises the risk of a chimney fire. Chemically-treated, rotting, or moldy wood should never be used in the fireplace as they affect air quality and can cause respiratory reactions.
4. Keep the Fireplace Clean and Safe
Cleaning your fireplace frequently prevents ash buildup that can contribute to a smoky fire. However, leaving a one-inch layer of ash will help insulate the firebox. Keep your fireplace safe by monitoring the level of ash and by sweeping up and properly disposing of cooled ashes as they accumulate.
5. Fully Extinguish Firewood
A fire can burn for days unless it is extinguished properly. Fully douse firewood with water before going to bed or leaving your living area for extended periods. Even firewood that seems like it’s out can still pop and send embers onto carpets and furniture.
6. Install Glass Doors to Keep Your Fireplace Safe
One of the best features to keep your fireplace safe is a screen or doors. The doors surround the firebox, preventing embers from escaping and damaging the flooring or other materials. Installing a barrier also helps keep curious children and pets away from the fire.