Safety Tips for Your Fireplace

There’s nothing like coming home on a cold, winter day and resting your feet by a roaring fire. The cheerful blaze can make your entire home feel cozy. But, of course, you always have to be careful when lighting and maintaining a fire—especially indoors. You must tend the flames and care for the fireplace properly to avoid disaster. Use the following tips to stay safe and enjoy your fire without fear.


Minimize smoke in the room

Crack a window and open the damper or flue before lighting your fire to ensure proper ventilation. Only close them after the flames are out.


Choose your logs carefully

Keep smoke production down by using dry or well-aged wood.


Limit your fireplace use

Only use your fireplace for five hours at the most. It shouldn’t replace your furnace as a heat source.


Watch carefully

Never leave a fire unattended—especially with small children nearby. Also, store fireplace tools and equipment in a place that small hands can’t reach.


Decorate wisely

Place a nonflammable rug in front of your hearth so sparks won’t damage your carpet. Also, clear the area around your fireplace of any flammable items, such as books, blankets, baskets, etc.


Cap it off

Chimney caps can protect your fireplace from water damage, debris, curious animals. You don’t want anything to block your chimney and redirect carbon monoxide into your home. A spark arrester will also keep sparks from flying out and igniting your roof.


Take precautions

Keep a fire extinguisher near the hearth, and install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home.


Call the professionals

Schedule a certified chimney sweep to inspect and clean your fireplace at least once a year or after roughly 80 fires.


Open it up

When the fire is burning, open the glass doors of your fireplace so air can cool your chimney. But, you also need to keep the screen closed to protect your floor from sparks.


Put down the vacuum

Never vacuum up ashes because the coals may still be hot.


For more information about fireplace safety, check out this article from the American Academy of Pediatrics.