The days are getting shorter, the nights are getting colder, and people are starting to cozy up to the fire. Fireplaces are a great gathering place for family and friends, but there are safety hazards that you need to be aware of, whether you have a wood or gas fireplace.
- Remember that glass gets hot. If you have children, don’t allow them to play near the fireplace when it’s on. If they touch the glass, they could burn themselves.
- One way to prevent serious burns is by installing a protective screen over the glass. The screens can get hot as well, so touching them still isn’t a good idea, but it does add a layer of safety to the fireplace.
- Schedule yearly maintenance before turning the fireplace on for the first time this season. The technician will check gas lines, clean the burner, etc.
- Leave space between the fireplace and any flammable objects like books or furniture. Items should be no less than three feet away.
- Check the carbon monoxide detectors in your home. There should be one on every floor of your house.
- Check the oxygen-depletion sensor. When the oxygen level in the fireplace gets too low, this device will automatically shut the gas off.
- Turn off the fireplace when it’s not in use or when you need to leave the room. The fireplace should never be left unattended when it’s on.
- Not all wood is good for burning. The wood you use should be seasoned and dry.
- Don’t start your fire with gasoline or kerosene. Always start it with newspaper, dry kindling, or an organic fire starter.
- Clean out the ashes at least 12 hours after fireplace use. Some ashes are still hot after 24 hours, so use your best judgement if the ash still seems hot.
- Get your chimney cleaned twice a year, especially before you use the fireplace for the first time this season.
- Keep the damper open while the fire is burning. This allows the smoke to escape out of the chimney and prevents creosote buildup. Don’t close the damper until the fire is completely out.
- Check the smoke detectors in your home and keep a fire extinguisher on hand.
- Just like with gas fireplaces, keep the area clear of any flammable objects, and never leave the fire unattended.
- Keep the glass open, but keep the screen closed. Open glass doors will allow air to travel up to the chimney, and a screen stops sparks from leaving the fireplace.
We want you to enjoy your fireplace this winter, and we also want you to stay safe. Brekke Fireplace Shoppe has been heating homes in the Twin Cities since 1964.