Nothing beats the coziness of a cold winter evening spent next to the fireplace. However, having an open flame in your home does carry a measure of risk. Use these tips to keep your fireplace usage safe this winter.
Have Your Fireplace Inspected
Whether you have a wood-burning fireplace or a set of gas logs, you may want to have your unit inspected each year to guarantee safety. Your chimney sweep can check that no bird nests or other debris are blocking the chimney, or your gas log dealer can arrange for an inspection to make sure your unit is still working properly.
Observe Fireplace Clearances
No matter what kind of fire you have, you should keep the area around the fireplace clear of anything that could ignite. Yes, stockings on the mantel and Christmas trees near the fireplace do make for lovely pictures, but you should move these items several feet away from the hearth before you light the fire. Furniture, curtains, and rugs can also ignite, so keep these items away from the fireplace as well.
Use Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Burning gas or wood can generate poisonous carbon monoxide gasses. This gas is completely odorless and tasteless, so you may not even realize that it is filling your home. If you use a fireplace of any kind, you should have a carbon monoxide detector with fresh batteries operating in your house. Additionally, if you start a fire, crack a window in the room to allow for better air circulation and to keep the air fresh in the room.
Never Leave a Fire Unattended
A fire can spread in just a matter of minutes, so you should never leave your fire unattended. Pets or small children could knock a flammable item into the flames and the fire could spread incredibly fast. Keep an eye on your fire so that if there is a problem, you can address it immediately before it gets out of control.
Always Have a Fire Extinguisher Handy
If you have a problem with your fireplace, a fire extinguisher is going to be the quickest way of putting out the flames. Keep it nearby in a cupboard or end table so that you can safely enjoy your fireplace.
Most of the time, evenings by the fire are fun and relaxing. However, you don’t want your cozy winter evening to end in tragedy. Plan ahead for fireplace safety by having it inspected and observing these common-sense fireplace rules.