There are few things as pleasant on a cold day as lighting the fireplace. The sensation of warmth it produces, along with the sight of the flickering flames, creates an almost ideal scene. However, fire is always dangerous, and it is important to follow these tips to keep our home safe, especially when using the fireplace, especially if it’s your first time using a fireplace.
Pay attention to passive safety
Before lighting the fire, it is necessary to follow a series of guidelines to avoid problems. Passive fire safety will help prevent incidents and enable more effective action if they occur.
For example, cleaning the ducts is of vital importance. If they are not cleaned regularly, soot can accumulate, which can deteriorate a tube and even cause a fire. It is best to leave the thorough cleaning to a professional once a year and check from time to time during the rest of the time to ensure there is not too much buildup.
Do not leave burnable items near the fireplace. This also applies as safety measures for electric stoves. Cardboard, papers, and clothing should not be near heat sources if you don’t want them to catch fire.
Never leave a fire unattended
If you’re going to sleep or leave the house, don’t leave the fireplace burning. It’s important to always have someone keeping an eye on it, just in case. Also, don’t let children play near the fireplace, and especially don’t allow them access to the fire.
Don’t misuse fuel
Use only the necessary amount of firewood to keep the fire going. Don’t pile up all the firewood you plan to use throughout the day at once, as it would create excessively large and dangerous flames. It’s also important to know what kind of firewood to use in the fireplace.
Avoid using flammable products like alcohol or gasoline to ignite the fireplace, as it could cause the fire to get out of control when you light the match or use a lighter. Instead, use a piece of paper underneath the firewood. Alternatively, use firestarter tablets.
Beware of smoke
Many chimney-related issues are related to smoke poisoning. To avoid this, use only dry and high-quality firewood that produces flames but not excessive smoke. You should also ensure that the chimney’s draft is in good condition. Of course, do not throw plastics or wood with varnish or paint into the fireplace, as it would not only produce smoke but also toxic gases.
Pay attention to expert recommendations
Don’t forget that it’s important to follow the advice of those who know best. For example, this fire prevention campaign launched by firefighters can be very useful. Follow their recommendations because they have seen many more problems than you and they can surely help you, both in preventing fires and acting in case a fire occurs despite everything.
If you are thinking of installing a new one, take a look at our basic measures to consider for fireplaces, and you will be able to fully enjoy a warm and cozy fire safely.
Using a poker and fireplace door
Using a poker and a fireplace door are important tips to ensure safety when using a fireplace at home. Below, at HotFireDoor, we explain the reasons why.
- Poker: The poker is an essential tool for manipulating firewood inside the fireplace while it’s lit. It allows you to adjust and move the logs safely without risking your hands or arms. By using the poker, you avoid direct contact with the flames, excessive heat, and sparks, thus reducing the risk of burns.
- Fireplace door: A fireplace door is a device that is placed in front of the fireplace opening. Its main function is to protect the occupants of the home and their personal belongings from sparks and embers that may escape from the fireplace. Additionally, it also helps to prevent children and pets from getting too close to the fireplace and having accidents.
Store Ashes Properly
Storing ashes properly is a crucial safety measure when using a fireplace. Ashes can contain hot embers and small particles of charcoal that can remain active for a prolonged time, even after the fire has been extinguished. Inadequate storage can lead to fires or accidental burns. To do this, you should wait for the ashes to cool down and use proper tools, among other safety tips.
Install a Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector
This is an essential safety measure when you have a fireplace that very few people consider. It should be essential for any home, especially if you have a fireplace. These devices help prevent and detect fires and the accumulation of toxic gases, thus protecting the occupants of the house.
- Smoke detectors: It is a device that identifies the presence of smoke in the environment, which can be a sign of a developing fire. If smoke is detected, the device emits a loud alarm that alerts the occupants of the home, allowing them to take measures to extinguish the fire or evacuate the premises.
- Carbon monoxide detectors: Carbon monoxide (CO) is a toxic and odorless gas that can be released during the incomplete combustion of materials such as firewood in fireplaces. Exposure to high levels of CO can be deadly. A carbon monoxide detector identifies the presence of this gas in the air and emits an alarm if safe levels are exceeded, alerting the occupants to ventilate the premises or evacuate if necessary.
- Placement of detectors: Install smoke detectors on every level of the house, near bedrooms, and in common areas. Carbon monoxide detectors should also be installed on each level, near bedrooms, and at an appropriate distance from the fireplace, following the manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Functionality check: Periodically check the operation of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, following the manufacturer’s instructions. This may include pressing the test button on the device and replacing batteries as needed. Especially at the beginning of the heating season.
- Replacement of detectors: Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors have a limited lifespan, usually between 7 and 10 years. Replace the devices according to the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure their proper functioning.