Fireplace Safety Tips

Feet warming by fireplaceA fireplace can significantly boost a home’s ambiance, but there are some safety issues to consider when lighting up natural logs. The chimney should be routinely cleaned to make sure that harmful by-products of combustion can be properly exhausted. The accumulation of soot and other deposits inside the chimney might lead to harmful levels of carbon monoxide. Therefore, it’s important to install smoke detectors right near a fireplace. Such a sensor can detect the slightest presence of toxic carbon monoxide, which poses real safety concerns for people and pets.

The fireplace mantel should not be decorated with any combustible items. It’s important to keep anything that’s made of wood or paper far away from the fireplace. Some plastics might also heat up and melt away when exposed to open flames. Additionally, electronics can also be damaged if they are set within several feet of a burning fireplace. A flat screen TV shouldn’t be mounted above a fireplace. A metallic fireplace screen can also prevent sparks from flying onto nearby objects and furnishings. Sometimes, sparks can ignite the upholstery of furniture or carpets. Metal objects that are placed near a fireplace can heat up quickly and reach temperatures that will literally burn your hands or skin. When handling the metal tools and other accessories for a fireplace, always use insulated gloves that have reliable fireproof designs.

You should never throw anything else but firewood into a fireplace. Newspapers, magazines and other printed paper can cause some major problems when they’re burned inside a fireplace. The ink and dyes on such pieces of paper can release harmful gases that are just as dangerous as carbon monoxide. Only blank sheets of paper can be safely burned inside a fireplace. It might not even be safe to use unlabeled cardboard and other recycled paper products.

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