14 Fireplace Safety Tips for The Holidays

Social media is beginning to fill up with cozy pictures of fires crackling in the fireplace, stockings hung with care, and the Christmas tree close by. It’s the most wonderful time of the year! While your furnace is likely still the main source of heat for your home, you may also start using the fireplace for both warmth and ambience. Your HVAC contractors at Xcalibur Services in Birmingham, AL want to make sure your stays safe and sound this holiday season. Whether you have gas logs or chop the wood yourself, there are general safety tips for everyone in your family to abide by: 

General Safety

  1. Make sure the area around the fireplace is clear of anything potentially flammable (ie: oversized stockings, dangling decorations, presents, books, etc.). If these items get too close to the fireplace, they could catch fire.
  2. Put fireplace tools and accessories out of reach of children. Remove any lighters and matches.
  3. Talk with children as early as possible the dangers of fires and the heat coming from them.
  4. Closely monitor children around the hearth and especially when there is a fire going. If you leave the room, take them with you.
  5. Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended. Make sure it is completely out or turned off before going to bed or leaving the house. 
  6. Keep a fire extinguisher nearby- check it annually 
  7. Install both smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Test them regularly and change the batteries at least once a year.

For primarily wood-burning fireplaces:

  1. Open the flue or damper before starting a fire, and double check using a flashlight or mirror. Keeping the damper or flue open until the fire is out will draw smoke out of the house, so make sure the embers have completely stopped burning before closing it. 
  2. Use dry and well-aged wood cut into smaller pieces. Wet or green wood causes more smoke. Dried wood burns with less smoke and burns more evenly.
  3. Clean out ashes from previous fires. Ash should be kept to 1 inch or less or else it may restrict the air supply to logs, resulting in more smoke.
  4. The chimney should be checked annually by a professional.
  5. Check for animal nests or other blockages that could prevent smoke from escaping.

Specifically for gas fireplaces: 

  1. Minimize your child’s chance of burns from the hot glass front of many gas fireplaces. Safety screens can be installed to reduce the risk of burns. Visit this blog post from the AAP about the dangers of glass-fronted fireplaces (WARNING: the post contains graphic injury pictures). 
  2. Have a professional annually check the gas lines, clean the burner and control compartment, and check for condensation.

There’s just something special about a fire in the fireplace, but to fully enjoy it, it’s crucial that safety precautions are taken. 

Like we said, your furnace will most likely remain your main source for heat this holiday season, so if something happens to it this winter, contact your trusted HVAC contractors in Birmingham, AL- Xcalibur Services. We’re here all year long to help keep you comfortable and safe in your home. Happy holidays from all of us at Xcalibur Services! 

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