How to Use a Fireplace Safely?

You might not spend much time thinking about it, but the fireplace is one of the most dangerous areas in your home. You can avoid serious injuries and even death by taking a few simple precautions when you use it. This guide will show you how to use a fireplace safely and keep your family safe this winter.

It’s winter and we all know what that means: fireplaces! We also all know the dangers of a fireplace. This blog post is meant to help you learn how to use your fireplace safely, with some advice on not only where to locate it but also when to use it.

  1. When should I turn my wood-burning or gas fireplace on? You should turn your fireplace on before bedtime because these are usually the coldest hours of the day. If you have children, make sure they are supervised at all times while playing around open flames.
  2. How do I maintain my chimney? To keep your chimney clean, inspect it twice yearly for obstructions like leaves or birds nests that could catch fire and cause a chimney fire. You should also inspect the flue for obstructions, especially after it snows or rains to make sure that there aren’t any leaves or other debris in the way of your fireplace opening.gas fireplace

Know the type of Fireplace you have

There are many types of fireplaces available in the market. These include gas, bioethanol or electric fireplaces that use electricity to produce heat and flames. The type you have determines how it is used for safety purposes.

  • For example, electric fireplaces are safer to use at home.

This is because they do not require venting as compared to other types such as gas-powered fireplaces. If you have a bioethanol fireplace, it must be placed at least one meter away from the walls and never over your head or flammable objects like curtains and carpets.

  • Do not place the fireplace under a window.
  • Keep it at least one meter away from walls, curtains and carpets or any other flammable object.
  • Always keep an eye on small children while they are around fireplaces to avoid accidents like burns and scalding injuries.

Understand your Fire Risk

In order to use a fireplace safely, you need to understand the risk factors. The biggest fire danger from a fireplace is carbon monoxide or CO poisoning. This colorless and odorless gas can cause symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, vomiting and fatigue which are sometimes referred to as “flu-like” illnesses. In high concentrations it can result in loss of consciousness and death.

Fireplaces can be especially dangerous if they are blocked or malfunctioning, which is why it’s important to hire a professional company like Artisan Chimney Services for repairs or cleaning services.

Another risk factor for fire is the build-up of creosote, which can lead to a chimney fire if it’s not cleaned out. Creosote accumulates in chimneys when unburned smoke particles cool and condense there. Not only does this substance smell unpleasant but it presents serious health risks like cancer or respiratory problems.

You should also use a fireplace safely by keeping it clean. A dirty chimney can easily catch fire and cause extensive damage, not to mention the health risks associated with breathing in soot particles from a house fire. The National Fire Protection Association recommends having your chimney cleaned every year or two depending on how often you use your fireplace.

Protect yourself from the Smoke and Soot

The first thing to remember when using a fireplace is that the smoke and soot released by burning wood can be incredibly dangerous. To protect yourself, turn on your furnace or air conditioning system to bring fresh air into your house while you are burning firewood in one of your fireplaces. Even better, install a wood stove in your home to prevent the smoke and soot from getting into your house.

Keep Children away from the Fireplace

Keep all children away from the fireplace. If they are feeling hot, cold or tired, keep them in another room where it’s warm and comfortable.

  • Have a responsible adult present who is capable of keeping an eye on things at all times.
  • If you have smaller children, make sure they are not left on their own for even a second. If there is more than one child under age five in the house, don’t use your fireplace without an adult who can watch them all at once. Even older kids should be supervised if they are around the fire. A responsible teenager or older child who is capable of working the flue and making sure their clothes are not afire should be allowed to stay.
  • Make sure you have all screens in place on your fireplace before lighting it. Remove them as soon as possible after you’ve finished with the fire, or else they will become clogged from ash buildup. If you do not have a screen, use fire-tongs to pick up the coals and logs. Do not carry them in your bare hands or with tools such as shovels or tongs that you could accidentally hit someone with.
  • Make sure you don’t leave any flammable items too close to the fireplace opening when it’s hot.
  • If you have a gas fireplace, be sure to follow all safety recommendations for its use. Never try to relight the flame yourself if it goes out while you are away from home. Gas logs also pose an explosion risk, so make sure they are always monitored and never left unattended when in operation. If there is any doubt about their safety, call in a professional.
  • Make sure the fireplace is completely out before leaving it unattended or going to bed. Use fire pokers and other tools such as metal shovels (never wooden ones) to remove all of the logs from inside it into a noncombustible container outside where they will not be able to reignite.
  • Do not try to clean the fireplace or remove ashes while it is still hot. Wait until it has cooled down completely, and then place a metal bucket on top of some noncombustible surface such as cement blocks before using a shovel to scoop out the ash into it for disposal in an outdoor receptacle far from your home where no one will be able to touch it or come into contact with it.
  • Do not use your fireplace when you are having a party, gathering of any sort or other event where the room is likely to get crowded and people may push each other around in an attempt to find seats for themselves. It’s too dangerous unless there is one adult who can devote his or her full attention to it.
  • Do not leave the fireplace unattended if you have a wood fire going in your hearth because of the risk that sparks from it may fly out into surrounding areas and cause fires elsewhere, such as when they land on upholstery or combustibles like newspapers or clothes left lying around too close to the fireplace.
  • Do not burn anything in your fire that is not wood, such as old furniture or trash of any kind. Only use seasoned woods because they are less likely to emit dangerous chemicals when burned than unseasoned ones or recycled building materials like plywood and particle board which may have been treated with chemicals you do not want released into your home’s atmosphere.
  • Make sure you have a fire extinguisher handy in case the fireplace should flare up while someone is using it or watching over it. Never put water on a grease fire because this can cause its temperature to rise and make matters worse, so always use an ABC dry chemical one designed for fighting fires involving petroleum products such as furniture polish. If you use a water extinguisher on it, the fire will only get bigger and require more drastic measures to put out such as calling in professionals from your local department of public safety who have special training for this sort of thing.
  • If using an indoor fireplace, make sure there is never anything combustible nearby that could catch fire when the fire inside is very hot. This includes things like newspapers left lying around, upholstery or cloth of any kind on furniture in close proximity to it, and anything else that could catch fire when exposed to high temperatures for too long such as curtains near windows.
  • If you have an outdoor fireplace, make sure there are no trees growing close to where you have it installed. If one of its flames should get out of control and set a tree on fire, the heat from that can burn down your whole house before firefighters arrive in time to save it if they are more than just a few minutes away which is why most communities have strict regulations about this sort of thing when issuing permits for building outdoor fireplaces.
  • Never try to use your fireplace if the glass doors are broken or missing since this can be extremely dangerous should a spark fly out of it and land on someone nearby, especially children who may not understand how hot fires burn. If you have no choice but to fix it yourself because replacement parts are unavailable anywhere for whatever reason, make sure they are made of tempered glass, not regular kind which is much more likely to shatter if exposed to extreme heat.
  • Do not use your fireplace on a windy day or one when there has recently been a lot of rain because this can cause the air around it to become too damp and possibly result in embers being blown out onto combustibles nearby.
  • When kindling a fire, do not put it in the fireplace until you have already started burning some logs so that the flames are strong enough to sustain themselves without going out when they get near new wood being added to them which is what makes most fires burn hotter and faster than expected since this results in an increase of air being drawn through the fire and up the chimney which is what keeps it going.
  • Do not allow anyone to stand too close to a fireplace that has been turned on because of the risk they may be burned by flying sparks or hot embers if something should catch fire near them while they are there, such as curtains next to windows where the heat of the fire can cause them to burst into flames.
  • Do not ever use lighter fluid on your fireplace because this is extremely dangerous if it should get onto any combustible nearby or someone standing too close who could be burned by it when they ignite, especially children. If you have no choice but to do so for some reason since logs will not burn without it in most cases, make sure they are fully extinguished and cold before you try using them again.
  • If burning logs in your fireplace for any reason, do not add more when the ones already there have stopped producing visible flames since this can cause a buildup of heat which could result in the chimney becoming blocked with soot and other particles which can be extremely dangerous should a fire start inside the house while you are not there.
  • Do not burn anything in your fireplace that is too big for it or has been treated with things like paint, especially indoors where even small amounts of soot being released into the air can cause respiratory problems to develop over time.gas fireplace
See also
How to Put out a Fireplace Fire Quickly – Tutorial

Prevent Chimney Fires

  • Store all flammable materials away from the fireplace. This includes newspapers, magazines, curtains and even your Christmas tree lights. If you don’t have a proper storage space for these things near or in your home then it’s time to move them out of there! Remember that anything can potentially catch on fire if used incorrectly so be mindful of what’s stored in close proximity to your fireplace.
  • Keep a glass or metal screen in front of the fireplace at all times. This will prevent sparks from jumping out and starting a fire elsewhere inside your home.
  • Close the air vents on your fireplace when it’s not being used to cut off its oxygen supply. If you do this, then there won’t be any potential fuel for a fire to burn so you’ll be preventing your fireplace from being able to catch on fire.
  • Never use flammable liquids like gasoline, kerosene or propane in the fireplace. These are all highly combustible and can cause big problems if used near an open flame. You shouldn’t even try using these materials with electric fireplaces because they’re not safe either.
  • Keep children and pets away from fireplaces when you know that there’s a fire burning inside of it. They could knock over the screen or pull on your curtains which might cause some problems if caught unaware by an adult nearby.
  • Never leave a fireplace unattended while it is still on. If you tend to run out of the room for a quick errand and leave your fire burning then that’s not safe either. This is especially true if you have kids or pets in the home who could knock over something with little notice from afar.
  • Place fireplace screens on both sides of the fireplace so that sparks can’t fly out of the front and into your home.
  • Put a mesh screen or glass doors in front of fireplace openings when they’re not being used to prevent sparking fires from starting elsewhere in your home (eg: curtains, newspaper etc).
See also
Is Fireplace Ash good for the Garden?

Clean up After a Fire is out

After you’ve put out the fire, it’s time to start cleaning up. The first thing you should do is get your household members together and discuss what happened while everyone was at home so they can help with cleanup duties. Then clean up any ashes that fell on the floor or furniture around the fireplace by sweeping them into a dustpan or a contained shovel.

Next, use a wet cloth to wipe up any ash that remains in the fireplace or on surrounding surfaces. After everything is cleaned up and you have ensured there are no smoldering embers left from extinguishing the fire, close your damper so you can get back to enjoying a nice cozy fire next time!

Environmental Protection Act of 1990

The Environmental Protection Act of 1990 is a United States federal law that regulates the emissions and solid wastes from both active and inactive hazardous waste sites. It was created to protect human health and safeguard the natural environment—air, water, land, plants, animals—from harmful pollutants by establishing a regulatory program for controlling them. This act requires the investigation and cleanup of all uncontrolled hazardous waste sites on both federal and private lands regardless of how long ago it was left there.

It is important to be mindful that as a homeowner, you are responsible for cleaning up any debris from your fireplace even if it came from another source such as fallen limbs or leaves. This will prevent future fires from starting due to abandoned materials.

Do not use gasoline, kerosene or charcoal lighter fluid as fuel for your fireplace! Unlike wood that is carbon neutral and emits pure water vapor when burned, solid fuels are extremely toxic to the environment. They release carcinogens into the air such as benzene, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), and dioxins. These elements can build up in the soil and contaminate water sources such as wells, ponds, streams, rivers and lakes.

Do not burn any cardboard or paper products that contain glue or adhesives; they release deadly chemicals into the air upon combustion! This includes colored book covers and magazines with staples.

Do not use any type of solid materials that are toxic or poisonous for your fireplace! These include treated lumber, plywood, particleboard and insulation. When burning these products the harmful chemicals they release will poison our air supply. They can also produce carbon dioxide which is a greenhouse gas suspected to contribute to global warming. It could even result in a fine from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Do not use your fireplace to burn old paint or chemicals! You should call a professional instead who has special equipment and training for dealing with these toxic materials. This will keep them out of our soil, water supply and air supply which can lead to serious health problems such as cancer. It is also important to note that burning old paint, chemicals or paint thinners can result in excessive smoke which is toxic too. It may cause carbon monoxide poisoning which leads to serious injury and even death.

Safety Tips

Fireplaces are a great addition to any home, but it’s important that you use them safely. There are several things you can do around your fireplace to make sure that your house stays safe while the fireplace is in operation.

  • *Avoid wearing clothes with long fringes* – Loose clothing or dangling jewelry near open flames can cause serious injuries.
  • *Make sure the area around your fireplace is clear* – This will allow space for proper ventilation. You should also make sure that everything nearby has been cleared before you light a fire in your home.
  • *Do not leave children unattended near a lit fireplace.*
  • This includes pets as well! There have been cases of animals tipping over a lit fire and causing a house to burn down.
  • *Keep your fireplace area clear* – There should be plenty of space between the front of the hearth and any furnishings or other objects near it. This will ensure that there is adequate room for air circulation, so you won’t suffocate the fire by trapping it.
  • *Only use the fireplace when you’re in a room with adequate ventilation* – If there isn’t enough airflow, toxic smoke will build up quickly and could end up causing dangerous gases to seep into your home. This is especially important if you have children or pets that spend time inside of your house.
  • *Keep a fire extinguisher nearby* – In case of an emergency, you will need to be able to put out the flames quickly and effectively until firefighters arrive on scene. Make sure that everyone in your household knows how to use it as well!
  • *Do not use flammable liquids to start a fire* – This can cause the flames to spread more rapidly, leading to dangerous situations.
  • *Always keep your fireplace doors open when you’re lighting or stoking a fire.*
  • This will allow for better ventilation and make sure that the room stays well ventilated.
  • *Never use the fireplace to burn items that are not firewood* – This can release toxic gases into your home. They will also produce sparks, which can easily cause a house fire if they come in contact with something flammable.
  • *Install screens over any open flames or their access points*
  • This is one of the most important safety precautions you can take around a fireplace. This will prevent anyone from accidentally touching hot glass, which could lead to serious injuries or burns.
  • *Remember that fireplaces need maintenance just like anything else*
  • You should inspect it on a regular basis and get any repairs done as soon as possible if there’s a problem. This will ensure that you get the most out of your fireplace and keep your family safe while using it!
  • *Have any pets or children who spend time in the house checked for allergies*
  • This is especially important if they’re around when you light up candles. If there are certain things that trigger an allergic reaction, like dust or pollen, you should make sure that the air quality in your house is good before lighting up candles.
  • *Do not leave children unattended near a lit fireplace.*
  • This includes pets as well! There have been cases of animals tipping over a lit fire and causing a house to burn down.
  • *Keep your fireplace area clear* – There should be plenty of space between the front of the hearth and any furnishings or other objects near it. This will ensure that there is adequate room for air circulation, so you won’t suffocate the fire by trapping it.
  • *Only use the fireplace when you’re in a room with adequate ventilation* – If there isn’t enough airflow, toxic smoke will build up quickly and could end up causing dangerous gases to seep into your home. This is especially important if you have children or pets that spend time inside of your house.
  • *Keep a fire extinguisher nearby* – In case of an emergency, you will need to be able to put out the flames quickly and effectively until firefighters arrive on scene. Make sure that everyone in your household knows how to use it as well!
  • *Do not use flammable liquids to start a fire* – This can cause the flames to spread more rapidly, leading to dangerous situations.
See also
Are Fireplace TV Stands worth it? (User’s Guide)

FAQs

What are the benefits of using a fireplace?

Fireplaces can be used to heat up your house. Use them during winter and save money on your heating bills! Fireplaces also provide an dramatic focal point for any room in your home, creating that cozy feeling we all yearn for when it’s cold outside. Just lighting a fire can help to calm and relax you, as well!

What should I look for when buying a fireplace?

The first thing we recommend is that you choose the style of your fireplace before anything else. This way it will work with all other elements in your home décor (e.g., furniture and wall colors) and you will get the most out of it. You want to be sure that you choose a fireplace with an EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) certification, as they are efficient and save on your energy bills while still providing heat for your house.

How often should I clean my chimney?

You should inspect and clean your chimney once every year. Any creosote buildup needs to be cleared out, because the high temperature of the chimney can cause it to catch fire if there are too many deposits in your flue.

How do I clean my fireplace?

It is recommended that you use a wire brush and soft bristled broom for this task. You should also vacuum the interior of your fireplace to get rid of any ash buildup.

What are some safety tips when using a fireplace?

Make sure that you have an adequate area around your hearth, with nothing flammable in close proximity (e.g., curtains or furniture). Open fires should always be watched carefully due to their unpredictable nature. Never leave your fire unattended and always extinguish it before you go to sleep or leave the house.

Conclusion

The most important thing to remember about using a fireplace safely is that you should never use it unless there are people around who can help in case of an emergency. If possible, make sure someone else knows how to contact the fire department in your area and keep their number handy for easy access. Also, always have at least one working smoke alarm on each floor of your home. If you do not have one, or if they are not working properly, replace them as soon as possible. Furthermore, it is always best to avoid using a fireplace during times when there will be no people around who can help should an emergency arise. Lastly, make sure that everyone in the house knows where to go in case of an emergency, and make sure that everyone knows the up-to-date number for your local fire department.