When you have a fireplace in the home there is a possibility something could go wrong if you and your family aren’t aware of some simple safety aspects of fireplace ownership. Safety tips may seem rudimentary at first glance, and in all honesty, some are. For instance, you wouldn’t put your hands in the fire to move a log without protection, but the fireplace manual will cover this in detail. Things like that seem simple, and while they may seem easy to follow, there are many things that are considered as an afterthought. It’s for that simple reason that you should discuss fireplace safety tips with your family, and keep them in mind whenever using a fireplace.
Chimney Inspections Should Never Be Skipped
Do not skip this. Do not ever skip this. You need inspections annually, as it will guarantee that you are not dealing with any flammable or combustible elements in the lining of your chimney. This is such an easy preventative measure, and one that will keep you and your family safe. The Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends that a regularly used fireplace be inspected and cleaned if needed at least twice per year. They also recommend that all other fireplaces, whether in use or not, be inspected at least once per year.
Clear the Opening and Mantle
Don’t put anything flammable anywhere near the mantle or the opening of your fireplace. You have to be very careful with what you put in this area, even if you think it looks good from an interior design standpoint. This includes television sets, sound equipment, and other things that may not seem bad at first glance, but could cause issue.
Put Up a Guard
Put up a gate and guard, and never let children play or be near the fire unsupervised. This goes double for pets. Do not let pets or children near the flames when lit, and don’t let them sit, sleep, or sit around the fireplace when lit or after fire has gone out. It’s imperative that they do not play around the debris, as much as it is important that they do not play around open flames. Embers often pop out of the fireplace and create small burn marks on the surrounding flooring. Those same embers can create serious burns on children and pets.
Do Not Leave the Fireplace Unattended
When you have a fire in place, even if you think it is safe, don’t leave your fireplace without attention. There are a number of things that can go wrong while you sleep, or you are away from the area. Make absolutely sure that you’re attentive, and in the vacinity of the fire when lit.
Do Not Use Flammable Substances to Start Fires
Don’t start a fire like you would start a grill. Do not use lighter fluid, don’t use newspaper, and don’t place anything combustible and dangerous in the fireplace. This may seem like something that wouldn’t matter, but these elements can cause serious damage to your chimney lining and blow back towards you. This is not safe, don’t test it.
Of course, don’t use moist wood pieces, don’t close the vent or outlet, and always make sure that you are careful with every move you make when in front of the fireplace. A little bit of safety goes a long way.