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Holiday Fireplace Safety Tips

christmas tree standing next to a fireplace

Holiday Fireplace Safety Tips

With the festive decorations, cozy fires, hanging ornaments from the mantle, and fun events with friends and family, many people choose the winter holidays as their favorite season.

When watching a fire in the fireplace, festive decorations that create a festive atmosphere can be appreciated much more. But the unfortunate reality is that if the fireplace starts a house fire, pleasant moments made possible during the holidays could be ruined.

You should be relieved if you had your chimney inspected this year. Even though everyone will appreciate the warm fire, taking the right safety measures and maintaining a live fire in your home is crucial.

This article will discuss and share tips on fire precautions during these joyous holidays with you, and it is highly recommended to have a chimney inspection if you haven’t already.

decorated fireplace for the holidays

Get a Professional to Inspect and Clean Your Chimney and Fireplace

It is advised that a professional undertake an annual examination of your fireplace, chimney, and vent if your home has one to make sure everything is functioning properly. In addition, they’ll most likely advise having the chimney swept to eliminate extra accumulation and debris that can present a fire threat during the inspection.

To be prepared to light a fire on the first chilly night of the season without worrying, it is preferable to have this inspection completed near the end of the summer when fall is starting to take hold.

You should have your fireplace inspected annually, even if you only use it occasionally or on special occasions. Unfortunately, you can never be sure if animals have constructed nests in your chimney or if it has deteriorated throughout the off-season.

Finding a trustworthy, certified chimney specialist in your area can be accomplished by contacting organizations like the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA). Doing all of these tips will keep your fireplace safe.

Fireplace Cleaning

Check Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Alarms

As a precautionary measure, it is important to ensure that your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms are in good working order. Inspect your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms once a year as part of routine home maintenance. 

In addition, you should swap out your old batteries and buy new ones if your detectors and alarms run on batteries. If yours are hardwired, test them now, and if your model has one, replace the backup battery.

Keep Flammable Items and Decorations Away from The Fireplace. By doing this you will help keep your fireplace safe.

For many homeowners, the fireplace mantle is their favorite location to decorate for the holidays. However, it would help if you exercise caution when hanging stockings and other holiday decorations near your fireplace. It’s advised to leave 3 feet surrounding your fireplace clear, especially when it’s lighted. You want to prevent an accidental ember from touching something flammable and maybe igniting uncontrollably.

Keep a Screen Over Your Fireplace

Speaking of embers, making sure the fireplace is properly covered is a terrific way to put out the flames when the wood pops and sparks. This will assist prevent undesirable objects from falling into the fire and keep the fire and debris inside the fireplace safe. 

Just Use the Fireplace for Wood Burning

Burn only wood seasoned for six months to a year when lighting a fire during the holidays or at any other time. Generally speaking, stay away from treated wood and store items like wrapping paper or an old Christmas tree in your fireplace instead. Then, replace them with proper disposal in the trash or recycling.

Keep Your Fireplace Unobstructed

After the fire is out and everything has cooled down, you should sweep away any ash and debris left in the fireplace to keep it clean. By removing the ash from your home, you can improve the indoor air quality while also giving your subsequent fire more control. On the other hand, particulate materials from the ash’s breakdown can be inhaled, raising your chance of getting sick and causing lung damage.

Keep a Fire Extinguisher Close

Regardless of whether you have a fireplace, every household needs at least one fire extinguisher per floor. If you have a fireplace, purchase an additional fire extinguisher to store next to the fire so that it is simple and quick to use in an emergency. Learn how to use the fire extinguisher properly before starting the fire.

Use Proper Fuel for Your Fireplace

Use the right kind of fuel for your fireplace. This means that people shouldn’t burn trash or paper in their fireplaces. Paper fragments can float up through the chimney, land on the building’s roof, start a fire, or, even worse, fall on a neighbor’s roof.

Fireplace Cleaning Tips

To ensure fireplace safety, you must hire a professional chimney sweeper to clean your fireplace at least once a year. Creosote, soot, glazing, and cracks in your flue lining are a few dangers that a chimney sweep may assist you in removing.

Creosote is the smoke and vapor residue left over from partially burned wood. Your chimney develops creosote buildup, which can result in a chimney fire. It adheres to the chimney lining in dense, flaky layers and is very explosive. Since it’s advised that creosote and soot don’t accumulate more than 14 inches, you might discover that you require a chimney cleaning more frequently than once a year.

Fireplace cleaning

Soot is a soft, black, or brown powder primarily composed of carbon and ash occasionally. Since carbon is combustible and increases the risk of a chimney fire, the threat of soot relies on how much of it is pure carbon.

The hardest chimney deposit to remove is glaze. It is a glossy, tarry substance that collects in the chimney as dark puddles. Glaze can occasionally form deposits that dangle above your fireplace like chunks of ice. The glaze is the most hazardous fire hazard a chimney sweep will remove during cleaning since it is dense. The glaze should be removed as soon as it accumulates to at least 1/8th of an inch.

Sometimes, whether as a result of the settling of the house’s foundation or the intense heat from flames, flue linings get fractured. This risk will be identified for you by a chimney cleaning. Before utilizing the fireplace, the flue liner should be repaired since a crack allows heat from the chimney to start a house fire.

Some Additional Tips for Holiday Season

Gift boxes and wrapped parcels should never be kept close to a fireplace since they are very flammable. Maintain a 3-foot minimum distance between all combustible materials and heat sources, such as fireplaces, candles, and portable heaters.

Don’t burn wrapping paper in your fireplace since it contains additives that cause it to burn at very high temperatures.

Never discard a Christmas tree by burning it in the fireplace. The Christmas tree’s wood is unsafe to fire since it has not been properly cured or seasoned.

Follow These Safety Tips

By adhering to these fire safety rules, you can enjoy the different atmosphere of a fire this holiday season and reduce your chances of any problems arising! Always keep a lit fire under your supervision whenever you have one in your home.

If any young children are present, take the opportunity to review fire safety fundamentals with them. If you frequently use your fireplace, consider installing a residential sprinkler system as an extra safety measure. 

Vertical is raising the bar when it comes to what a chimney and fireplace solutions company can be. Vertical has been in the chimney care business for over 35 years, and we have devoted our time and energy to bring safety to your home. We have spent all 35 years making sure we give our customers the best possible service. Starting your project is easy, contact us today!

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