Fireplaces in your home not only offer warmth, but also enhance its aesthetic appeal. To ensure they operate safely and efficiently, proper maintenance is vital.

Wood-burning Fireplace

  • Prior to Fireplace Use: Always clean the firebox and screens before you use the fireplace. Make sure the chimney damper is open when lighting a fire. Remember to close any open window near the fireplace to prevent smoking at the start of lighting.
  • Ventilation: Ensure the fireplace area is well-ventilated, especially if the room is small.
  • Seasoned Wood: Use only seasoned, dry hardwood for burning. Fresh or wet wood can cause creosote buildup, which can be a fire hazard.
  • Creosote Buildup: Have the chimney inspected and cleaned regularly to avoid creosote buildup, which is a major cause of chimney fires.
  • Spark Guard: Use a spark guard or mesh screen to prevent sparks from flying out and potentially causing a fire.
  • Hearths: Ensure you have a non-flammable hearth pad in front of the fireplace to prevent sparks from catching nearby materials on fire.
  • Safety Equipment: Always have a fire extinguisher nearby, and ensure all household members know how to use it.
  • Dispose Ashes Safely: When disposing of ashes, ensure they are cooled down, and place them in a metal container. Store the container away from the home.
  • Regular Checkups: Perform a checkup twice a year, but always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Gas or Electric Fireplaces

  • Ventilation: Even though gas fireplaces are cleaner, ensure that the room is well-ventilated.
  • Gas Leaks: If you smell gas, shut off the fireplace, turn off the gas supply, and call a licensed professional immediately.
  • Children and Pets: Use safety gates or barriers to keep children and pets at a safe distance.
  • Remote Controls: If your fireplace is operated by a remote control, keep it out of the reach of children.
  • Instruction Manual: Always refer to the manufacturer’s instruction manual for specific guidance, especially regarding cleaning and maintenance.
  • Inspect Gas Lines: Regularly have a licensed professional check the gas lines for potential leaks or damages.
  • Regular Checkups: Perform a checkup twice a year, but always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Safety Tips: Never burn wood in a gas or electric fireplace. Keep flammable objects away, and dust the inside and outside. Change the lightbulb in your electric fireplace when needed.

Tips for All Fireplace Types

  • Decor: Avoid placing combustible decorations near the fireplace.
  • Safety Zone: Establish a 3-foot “kid-free” zone around the fireplace.
  • Annual Inspection: Regardless of the type of fireplace, have it inspected annually by a licensed professional to ensure it’s in safe working condition.

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