Fireplace Safety Tips: 10 Common Mistakes Not to Make

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Having a fireplace at home is one of the most convenient aspects for homemakers. Having a fireplace means you have a regulated and warm environment all the time.

However, this warm built-in feature in most houses can be the cause to some very disastrous events if not handled with utmost caution. The chances of coming across unfortunate incidents can be higher than necessary if you happen to have young kids around at home.

For new homemakers thinking of installing a fireplace in their homes, we are going to discuss about some fireplace safety tips and 10 of the most common mistakes not to make when dealing with a fireplace.

Read till the very end of this article to learn more about the 10 common mistakes you should avoid making with a fireplace the next time you light a fire to keep warm.

1. Inspection

The most common reason for catastrophic events taking place with a fireplace is due to incomplete inspection. When it comes to house fires, more than 50 percent of the accidents were reported to have taken place due to improper inspection and poor maintenance of the fireplace and chimney.

It is a smart idea to always call for professional maintenance and inspection for your fireplace and chimney at least once every year if not once every 6 months.

The professionals, in this case, will work to clean out and remove the Creosote build-up in the chimney after logs have been burning in the fireplace for a long period of time. For those who don’t know, Creosote is a highly flammable tar-like substance. Unless cleaned out, it is very likely that your house could catch fire if the chimney or flue of the fireplace catches a spark or anything remotely flammable.

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2. Detectors

Another common mistake new homemakers make when installing a fireplace in their home is to bypass getting a CO (Carbon Monoxide) detector installed at the same time.

Known as the “silent killer”, this fatal fume does not have any smell, so it is not possible to detect CO without any technological device. To ensure you and your loved ones stay safe from this silent killer, make sure you get Carbon Monoxide detectors installed in every level of your house if it happens to have more than one floor.

3. Know what NOT to burn

Never use moist and unseasoned wood for burning. Not only is moist and unseasoned wood completely useless and inefficient, it can also be harmful as it creates more smoke than seasoned wood.

The smoke created from the burning of unseasoned wood builds up Creosote, that harmful substance we previously mentioned above in this article.

Other than unseasoned and moist wood, you should also refrain from using coal, cardboard, waxy paper, plastic, etc for your fireplace.

Plastic in this case is extremely harmful as it is a 100 percent synthetic material. Burning plastic in your fireplace can give off the most harmful toxics ever produced.

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4. Keep the guard on

One of 10 common mistakes to not make with a fireplace is to forget installing a guard for the chimney.

While it may not seem like a big deal to many, installing a guard for the chimney will not only keep it safe from lightning sparks in case it storms, but also prevent harmless birds and small animals from entering through the chimney when not in use.  

5. Screen door

Always make sure to close the fireplace’s opening with a glass screen door or metal guard whenever put in use. Of course you need to keep the flue open during this time to let the CO pass out.

This way, you do not have to worry about children reaching into the fireplace or sparks flying out of it and causing accidents outside.

6. Never use gasoline

If you think your fire is burning out faster than usual, call in a professional to change the woods or clean the area if you can’t do it yourself. However, do not take the shortcut and use liquids like gasoline, kerosene or anything remotely flammable to get things started again.

7.  Keep the chimney dry

Most of the times, the water pipeline will be around the chimney. While this may not entirely cause a flammable accident, it might lessen the longevity of the chimney if it happens to get wet quite often. The moistness will make the mortar in-between the bricks crumble down faster than usual.

8. Be more cautious

While it might seem like a simple thing to throw in a cigarette butt or used matchsticks into the fireplace when not in use, it can actually be a very dangerous idea.

Even when a fireplace isn’t burning, the soot build-up is always present, no matter how seasoned or unseasoned the used wood was. This soot is flammable regardless of wood type. Disposing unlit matches or cigarette butts might in fact ignite a spark inside the fireplace and cause a large scale accident.

Read Also: Firewood Types: The Best and Worst Firewood to Burn in Winter

9. Keep your children away

One of the 10 most common mistakes not to make with a fireplace is to keep children around. The heat will reach them wherever they are, so they don’t necessarily need to be in the same exact room with the source of the heat. Even if you have a screen guard on, you never know when a child could touch it and hurt him/herself.

10. Keep a fire extinguisher at home

The most important safety tip is to always keep a fire extinguisher at hand when dealing with a fireplace. Never underestimate the chances of a fire starting in your home even if you have all the necessary safety features installed. Regardless of it all, keep a fire extinguisher present at all times, and make sure it is stored away in a place that is easily accessible by all.


This winter keeps yourself and your loved ones warm and cozy by lighting a fireplace in the safest manner. We hope you learned a lot through this article on Fireplace Safety Tips and that it brought some very important safety points to your mind regarding this convenient home feature.

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