The fireplace provides a cozy place to relax with your family on cold or snowy days and adds ambiance to the room. However, fireplaces are also potential safety hazards. Protect your family with these tips for fireplace safety.

Clean the Firebox

After extinguishing the fire and the ashes and coals have cooled, use a broom or fireplace shovel to remove the ashes. Ash and soot will accumulate in the firebox if you don’t perform this task regularly. In a dirty firebox, a spark might lead to a much bigger fire than you intended.

Maintain the Chimney for Fireplace Safety

Even if you take excellent care of your fireplace, a chimney filled with creosote is a severe fire hazard. During your annual fireplace maintenance, schedule a chimney inspection and hire a chimney sweep to remove debris from the flue. A professional will examine the chimney’s exterior and interior and provide feedback about necessary repairs.

Hire a professional to repair or replace broken bricks and cracked mortar. They will have the tools and fire-resistant materials to do the job correctly.

Keep Flammable Items Away

Fireplaces are often in the living room or family room. While this is great for enjoying the flames, it also means that clutter may accumulate on the hearth or near the firebox. Teach children to keep their books and toys away from the hearth. Flammable furniture, draperies, and rugs should be five feet from the fireplace. Confirm that nothing flammable is nearby before you light a fire.

Install a Fireplace Screen to Boost Safety

Fireplace screens are one of the most cost-effective tools for fireplace safety, as they stop young children and pets from getting too close to the flames. Fireplace screens also prevent embers and ashes from falling out and damaging the carpet and nearby materials. Many house fires begin outside the fireplace because there is no protective screen.

Burn Safe Firewood

The fuel you use in your fireplace is another component of fire safety. Burn only hardwood that has been properly seasoned or allowed to dry completely. Never put chemicals or trash into the fire, as this will create dangerous fumes. Softwoods contain more moisture and produce more smoke, increasing the creosote accumulation rate in the chimney. For best results, choose hardwoods like oak. Hardwoods are more expensive, but the increased fireplace safety is worth the cost.

GeeGuy’s Inspection Service provides home inspection services to customers in the BC Central Interior. Contact us to request an appointment.