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6 Unconventional Fireplace Safety Tips

Fireplaces are a generally sought-after feature in homes. They provide a cost-effective source of heat and of course, cozy photo-friendly vibes through the wintertime. Fireplace maintenance is a widely covered topic, and you’ve probably heard time and time again how important it is to keep your chimney cleaned, not to leave a fire unattended, etc. So here are a few lesser-known fireplace safety tips to keep in mind this winter:

1. Screens
Whether you have a wood burning or gas fireplace, having a screen in front is an integral safety feature. A safety screen will help prevent debris from both entering and exiting your wood-burning fireplace, and will provide a barrier to the glass front of a gas fireplace, which can reach dangerously high temperatures and cause severe burns if touched.

2. Distance
Transfer your expert pandemic level social distancing skills to safe fireplace practice. It is recommended that there are at least 3-feet between the hearth and your furniture and décor. Even with your safety screen in place, the heat produced from a fire – both wood and gas burning – can cause damage to your possessions.

3. Plants
In addition to keeping all items a safe distance from your fireplace, it’s good practice to ensure your plants are adequately watered. This isn’t just to keep them alive, but well-watered plants are less likely to drop leaves. Dead leaves are lightweight, can carry across a room with the smallest of drafts, and easily catch fire.

4. Test the chimney
Okay, your screen is in place, furniture and plants are far enough away, and now you’re ready to light a cozy fire… BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE! Before you do, make sure to test the function of your fireplace by lighting a small piece of wood and hold it in the chamber. If the smoke is exiting vertically up the chimney, carry on. If the smoke enters the room, you will need to do some further investigating. It is important to make sure your chimney is clean and clear for the safe operation of your fireplace.

5. Only the good stuff
Your fire is lit, and it might be tempting to toss in the cardboard packaging from your last delivery, hiding all traces of your latest online shopping expedition. But a fireplace isn’t a garbage bin. Only burn dry, seasoned firewood as other items risk compromising air quality and may burn unpredictably.

6. The right tools for the job
Never use a vacuum to clean up ashes. Sweep and/or shovel them up with dedicated fireplace tools and discard them in a metal bin. Pro tip: Keep your brass fireplace utensils shiny and picture perfect with ketchup and a damp cloth!

Interested in learning more about fire safety? Here are 15 Tips to Safeguard Your Home or Business from Fire Damage. If you're more of a visual learner, check out our Youtube channel for Fire Prevention Tips for both Home and Business owners.

Written by: Peace Hills Insurance

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