A fireplace can serve as an excellent source of supplemental heat for your home. It can also be an effective way to draw the family together after dinner or on winter weekends when inside activity is more preferable than outdoor adventures. However, it is important to note that 42% of home-heating fires are related to fireplaces and chimneys. Safety is paramount when using a fireplace.
Keep the fire contained
You should always have a protective screen in front of your fireplace. There are many decorative mesh metal screens available so that this protective item can also function as an attractive part of your room decor. Glass fireplace doors are another option for assuring the fire is contained. A spark guard functions as a protector when placed in front of an open fireplace.
Respect the space
One of the best fire prevention tips you can follow is to keep all combustible material at least 3′ away from the fireplace. Children should not be allowed to play close to the fireplace. Furniture should be placed a safe distance away from the fire. Be careful not to let blankets, dog beds, toys, and other items find their way inside of the the 3′ safety zone.
Proper maintenance on the chimney is another fire prevention technique for anyone using a fireplace. Having the chimney properly cleaned is part of a responsible maintenance routine. It is recommended that a chimney be cleaned once a year. It’s also essential that you install a chimney guard or spark-arrester screen to keep animals out of the chimney and to prevent sparks from escaping and accidentally igniting something.
What to burn
You should only burn hardwood that has had a drying time of at least six months. Enjoy small fires. They generate less smoke and less creosote buildup.