You’ve signed every paper, unpacked every box, and jumped through every single hoop to purchase and move into your new home. Not only that, but you finally have a fireplace—something you’ve always wanted, but didn’t have before. Now that you have the home and fireplace of your dreams, make sure to learn not only how to use the fireplace, but how to use your fireplace safely.
Keep It Clean
First and foremost, have your fireplace and chimney cleaned and inspected by the pros. This small investment in time and money is not only the responsible way to perform fireplace maintenance, but also is crucial to protect your home. Creosote buildup in a chimney means higher risk of a house fire, so it’s imperative that a professional cleans out any residue for your safety.
Another important aspect to keep your fireplace and chimney clean is to make sure you’re burning clean firewood. This means not burning any wood that has been treated with oils, finishes, or paint. When burned, these additives get into the smoke from your fire and can be dangerous to breathe in. Dangerous chemicals from treated wood can also build up inside your chimney, creating a hazard. Avoid green or wet firewood. The firewood you use should be dry and seasoned.
Lastly, make sure to pick up and keep a clear and tidy space in front of your fireplace. A spark or ember landing on flammable items like papers or furniture too close to the fireplace can cause a house fire. Consider placing a fire-resistant rug in front of your fireplace to protect your carpeting.
Now that you’ve made sure your fireplace and chimney are clean and safe, there are a few practices you can make a habit of to keep your fireplace a safe part of your home. Whether you have a fireplace, you should always have functioning carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors in your home. Install carbon monoxide detectors on each level of your home, and smoke detectors both in every single bedroom and on each level of your home. Test them monthly and swap out the batteries every six months. Keep a fire extinguisher in the home, and make sure you know how to use it.
Never leave a fire burning unattended. Make sure it’s out all the way before you go to bed and never, ever leave a child alone with a burning fire. Opening glass doors when burning a fire is a good practice, or you may want to use a safety screen.
Last but not least, read and learn about your specific fireplace and how to use it. If you have a gas fireplace, read and save the owner’s manual. It contains important safety information. If you can’t find the manual, don’t fret. Check with your local fireplace and hearth store to see if they have a copy available, or try a search online. Many gas fireplace manufacturers make their manuals available online for free!
Moving into a new home is already a big project, and when it comes with something completely new to you—like a fireplace—your family’s safety is the most important aspect. You’re already here reading this blog post, so pat yourself on the back for getting started.