Fireplace Safety Tips

We will be using our fireplaces and heaters before we know it. It’s always good to be reminded of some things that can help to keep us safe and sound during the coming Winter season.

BEFORE: Getting ready to burn

Wood (fireplaces, freestanding heaters and wood stove inserts)

  • Inspect chimney and appliance annually. Use a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep.
  • Install a chimney cap to prevent critters and tree debris from entering the chimney and creating blockages.
  • Install smoke detector/carbon monoxide detector. Replace batteries regularly.

Gas (gas log, b-vent, direct vent, vent free appliances)

  • Get annual check-ups by qualified technicians. Check out gas line connections, burner and control valves.
  • Supervise children, elderly and animals around hot glass. Teach about risk of burns when the appliance is on and shortly after – until surfaces cool down.

Electric

  • Regularly check out cords, wiring and plugs to discover wear spots or exposed metal.
  • Do not run cords under carpet, rugs, runners, furniture or appliances.

DURING: While using the system or appliance

Wood (fireplaces, freestanding heaters and wood stove inserts)

  • Make sure the damper is open before lighting a fire.
  • Seasoned wood is easier to light and burns more efficiently.
  • Don’t burn colored newspapers, sales papers or plastic.
  • Don’t use gasoline or kerosene or lighter fluid to help start a fire.
  • Keep flammable materials (curtains, furniture, bookshelves, stacks of books or newspapers, etc) at least 3 feet from the woodburning area.

Gas (gas log, b-vent, direct vent, vent free appliances)

  • Read operations manual for vent-free appliances (gas logs). Do not exceed burn time specified by the manufacturer. If you do, there is a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Make sure damper is permanently clamped open when using vented gas logs. Always check before turning on gas logs to make sure the damper is open.
  • Pay attention to any changes in smell or the look (size or color) of the flame. Changes can indicate that the appliance is not operating correctly.

Electric

  • Never use extension cords!
  • Never block any vents (intake or exhaust). Unrestricted airflow is necessary for proper operations.

AFTER: When it’s time to clean up.

Wood (fireplaces, freestanding heaters and wood stove inserts)

  • Keep damper open until all coals and embers are totally burned out.
  • Do not leave the house or go to bed until fire is totally burned out.
  • Use non-combustible (metal) container for ashes. Keep them away from the house structure. Wait until completely cold before dumping. It might be good to have two containers and alternate use allowing time for ashes to completely go cold before dumping.

Gas (gas log, b-vent, direct vent, vent free appliances)

  • Keep children, elders and animals away from hot glass or metal parts until completely cooled down.

Electric

  • Unplug appliance when not in operation and during thunderstorms.

It’s that time — time to enjoy the pleasures of a warm hearth over the coming winter season. We here at Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps|Bless Your Hearth wish you joy and many toasty evenings! Be Safe!