Fireplace Safety

by Lee Wyatt
(last updated January 4, 2013)

A fireplace can add much needed beauty and a wonderful atmosphere to any room. However, there are some things that must be said about fireplace safety though, as all too often we hear stories about those who have lost their homes, and even their lives in some cases, due to an improperly used fireplace. There are a few simple things that anyone can do to make their fireplace as safe as it is beautiful.

Gas Fireplaces

  • Glass. The glass of gas fireplaces is not there just for looks. Believe it or not it is an important safety device as well. As such it needs to be cleaned regularly to avoid the build up of any flammable materials.
  • Vents, and fans. Vents and fans need to, again, be regularly cleaned to ensure that there is not only proper airflow and circulation is maintained, but that these ventilation passages are kept free of any flammable materials.
  • Electrical, gas output. One of the more common reasons for uncontrolled fires from gas fireplaces is due to either the electrical source or gas source putting too much into the mix. Regularly check that these energy sources are still flowing in accordance with the established manufacturer's guidelines.

Wood Fireplaces

  • Clean. Cleaning helps to reduce the danger of uncontrolled burns. Clean the walls and floor of a fireplace of all soot and ash regularly.
  • Tools. Make sure that you are using the proper tools when working with a fire. Use the poker, tongs, and other correct tools instead of makeshift items.
  • Flammable does not mean burnable. Just because something can burn, does not mean that it should be burned in a fireplace. Do not burn plastic, coal, Christmas trees, or garbage in the fireplace.
  • Glass. When lighting or burning a fire, you want to make sure that the glass doors are open. You are also going to want to make sure that these doors are properly cleaned prior to use to help reduce the risk of the build up of flammable buildup.
  • Fireplace grate. You need one of these in your fireplace to help hold and contain the burning logs and embers.
  • Fire screen. This essential piece of equipment should be closed after the fire is lit. Prior to being lit it should be checked to make sure that there are no large holes that a burning cinder can go through.
  • Damper. Do not close the damper on your fireplace until all the embers have gone out.

Crossover Tips

  • Carbon monoxide detectors. Where ever you have a fireplace, you need to install a carbon monoxide detector inside that room. To avoid false results, don't put it next to the fireplace.
  • Chimneys. Have your chimneys cleaned regularly (annually is best) to ensure that all flammable materials have been removed and it is clear of obstructions.
  • Fire extinguishers. Fire extinguishers should be placed in the same room as your fireplace.
  • Nonflammable area. Keep all flammable items (i.e. books, paper, furniture, etc.) at least 2 feet away from the fireplace to avoid any burning, melting, charring or other types of fire and heat damage.
  • Children, pets, and fire don't mix. Needless to say, you should keep your small children and pets away from any burning fire. It may be fascinating to them, but it can hurt them and lead to a very dangerous situation.
  • Leaving the room. Keep this simple rule in mind, if the fire is burning, don't leave the room.

Author Bio

Lee Wyatt

Contributor of numerous Tips.Net articles, Lee Wyatt is quickly becoming a regular "Jack of all trades." He is currently an independent contractor specializing in writing and editing. Contact him today for all of your writing and editing needs! Click here to contact. ...

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