It’s October Already! Holiday Decorations and Fireplaces Don’t Always Mix

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We always try to raise awareness for holiday decorations, the fireplace, and the dangers they pose well in advance of the holiday season. We understand that you probably have Halloween decorations out already, so now’s a great time to remind you that they shouldn’t be close to the fireplace. We also hope that you’ve already had your fireplace and chimney inspection and cleaning so you can comfortably start using the fireplace.

Proper Distance from the Firebox

  • The fireplace mantle should be at least 12 inches from the top of the firebox.
  • The hearth should extend 16-20 inches and overlap the firebox by at least 8 inches.
  • The surround should be noncombustible.
  • Decor should be at least 18 inches from the firebox.

Safely Decorate Your Fireplace

We completely understand that you love your fireplace and hearth, and you want to include them in your holiday decorating. We don’t want to scare you away from decorating them; we just want to make sure you follow the necessary safety precautions.

  • Never hang decorations from the mantle while using the fireplace. They can get too hot and catch fire or they can catch a popping ember.
  • Never put combustible decorations closer than 18 inches away from the firebox.
  • Take an extra precaution and move combustible decor three feet away from the firebox if you decide to start a fire.
  • Install a fireplace screen for additional protection.

Holiday Fires

The U.S. Fire Administration reports more than double the number of open-flame fires on Christmas Day than any other single day of the year. Sometimes these house fires are due to kitchen fires or dried Christmas trees, but some are also because of the fireplace and decorations that have been placed too close to the firebox.

The best way to protect your family and your home is to make sure that everything is a safe distance away from the fireplace. Install a fireplace screen to keep embers from popping out and hitting a dried Christmas tree, wrapping paper, decorations, someone’s clothing, or your pet. Embers have the potential to start a deadly fire if they pop out of the fireplace and a screen will help keep them in place.

Consider putting a baby gate or puppy exercise pen around the fireplace as well. This keeps children, pets, and combustibles from getting too close on accident. Give us a call at 610-626-2439 if we can help by inspecting or cleaning your chimney and fireplace before the holiday season hits.

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