How can you maintain the safety of your fireplace and prevent potential hazards or accidents?
Fireplaces are a wonderful feature of many homes. They add warmth and character to the interior of a home, but can also pose safety risks if not properly maintained. This is why it is important to practice smart health habits and take steps to prevent potential hazards.
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- Maintain a safe distance from the fire and its flames.
Keeping flammable materials at least 3 feet away from your fireplace is one way to prevent potential fires. This includes things like furniture, blankets, pet beds, and anything else that could catch fire from embers falling out of the fireplace. During the holiday season, it is especially important to keep your Christmas tree and decorations far from the fireplace so that they don’t get sucked into the flames.
- Install a spark guard or mesh metal screen to protect your fireplace and floors from rogue embers that may ignite nearby items on fire.
- Use a fireplace grate to hold the wood off the floor of your fireplace and allow air to circulate in the firebox.
- Avoid burning treated wood, plastic, or garbage that can release toxic vapors into the home.
- Check your smoke detectors regularly to make sure they are working properly.
- Always have a fire extinguisher in close proximity to your fireplace.
A fire extinguisher is an effective way to put out a fire quickly, but you should never use it on a fire that is not well-maintained or hasn’t been fully extinguished. This can cause the embers to overheat and cause them to start a fire in the fireplace, which is a serious hazard.
- Have a professional chimney sweep inspect your chimney annually or more frequently as necessary.
Smoke from a burning fireplace can billow back into the room, causing respiratory problems and even death in some cases. It is a good idea to have a carbon monoxide detector installed as well to monitor the quality of the air in your home.
- Use a non-flammable rug in front of your fireplace to protect the carpeting from fire splatter.
- Always wear a fire-resistant glove when stoking your fireplace, or when using any other fireplace tools that could tinker with the fire.
- Ensure your chimney is free of debris and creosote buildup.
Burn only dry, seasoned wood or specially designed fire logs to reduce the risk of a fire in your fireplace. This helps reduce soot and creosote buildup that can cause a hazard to you, your family, and your pets.
- Have your fireplace inspected annually by a certified chimney sweep to avoid a buildup of creosote that can lead to a clogged chimney and a dangerous fire in the future.
- Install a fire-resistant glass door and blower on your fireplace to prevent rogue embers from escaping into the room and to protect curious children and pets.
A fire-proof glass door and blower make your fireplace much safer, more efficient, and easier to maintain. It also allows you to enjoy the heat without fear of sparks and embers coming out onto your floor.