Fireplace Safety & Maintenance
Thanks to the arctic blast that made its way into our area last night it feels like the winter cold has officially arrived. When outside temps are low, there is nothing better than cozying up by the fireplace. A fire’s warmth and ambiance is alluring, but it is important to not overlook the potential dangers of your fireplace. Now that the heating season has begun, let’s review some fireplace safety and maintenance tips.
- Ensure your fireplace is clean and working property. It is a good idea to have your fireplace inspected and cleaned annually to avoid the threat of chimney fires.
- Clean around your fireplace and remove any items that are too close to the fire’s heat. Keeping a nonflammable rug in front of the fireplace is also a good idea. These can be purchased at fireplace-supply stores and can keep sparks from damaging your carpeting.
- When lighting a fire, only burn wood and be sure to place logs near the back of the fireplace, preferably on a grate. Overloading the fireplace with too many logs should also be avoided.
- Keep the glass doors open while the fire is burning. This will allow air to filter up to cool the chimney. With the glass doors open, pull the screen closed to avoid sparks from jumping out and onto your carpet or flooring.
- The glass on gas fireplaces will become extremely hot during when a fire is burning. Be sure to keep children and pets supervised and at least 3 feet away from the fireplace to keep them from touching the glass.
- Be sure a well-maintained fire extinguisher is always easily accessible and test your smoke detectors regularly. Pay attention to manufacturing notes on your extinguisher to be sure to understand how to operate and maintain it, as well as when replacement is recommended.
- Wait at least three days before removing the ashes from your fireplace. This is how long coals can potentially remain hot enough to start a fire and should only be removed when they are cool enough. However, do not let ashes build up, so clean the firebox at least once a week during the months you are using it.
- Most importantly, never leave a fire unattended. Always be sure an adult is home at all times when a fire is burning and keep children and pets a safe distance away from the fireplace and the fireplace tools.