Bean Group / Portsmouth

Fireplaces: Quick safety tips for using your fireplace

by Lawa-Na McClellan 03/13/2023

Chilly fall and winter nights are a great time to use your fireplace, but it's important to do so safely. Fireplaces can be hazardous regarding house fires, burns, carbon monoxide leaks and other dangers. Before using your fireplace, make sure you're familiar with the following safety tips.

Schedule a cleaning and inspection

Your fireplace should be cleaned and inspected every year to ensure it's in good condition and safe to use. Wood-burning fireplaces need to be cleaned to remove soot and creosote buildup, which can cause house fires. Gas and electric fireplaces should also be inspected each year to identify potential safety issues and have them repaired before using them. All fireplaces should be checked for nests or other obstructions in chimneys.

Remove flammable items from the area

Flammable items can quickly catch fire when they're close to fireplaces, such as when sparks or ashes fly out. Keep any flammable material or items away from your fireplace before you use it.

Use safe wood sources

When you have a wood-burning fireplace, use smaller, dry and well-aged pieces of wood. Damp or green wood produces more smoke and can cause soot to accumulate inside your chimney. Smaller pieces of well-aged, dry wood don't produce as much smoke, resulting in a safer and cleaner burn.

Use a flame-resistant fireplace screen

A mesh screen or curtain helps keep ashes from flying out of your fireplace and onto carpeting, furniture and other surfaces. These screens also help reduce the risk of burns.

Never leave fireplaces unattended

Avoid leaving your fireplace unattended when you have a fire going. Stay in the room as much as possible while it's burning, and make sure the fire is fully out before you leave your house or head to bed.

Install carbon monoxide detectors

Wood-burning and gas fireplaces can be a source of carbon monoxide leaks. Carbon monoxide detectors can help you avoid any leaks and ill-effects by alerting you to any issues. You can then move your household outside and have the issue corrected. Avoid going back into your home until there is no trace of carbon monoxide in the air.

About the Author

Lawa-Na McClellan

My true passion for serving others is what lead me to my career in Real Estate.  Next, it was Identifying my favorite classes in college which were marketing and business law.  Identifying and reflecting on what was most important to me in my career choice made the decision to become a Realtor that much easier. My main objective was trying to figure out how to create a life designed by me.  I needed a career that could give me the time with my children then 4 and 8 that was a huge non-negotiable for me,  and also fulfill my passion for helping people, sales, and marketing.   Becoming a Realtor was not by default for me, it was a well thought out decision and choice I made that embodied so many components that serve my purpose and desires. I have been Licensed since 2011.  I service the states of New Hampshire and Maine and reside in Portsmouth, NH with my wonderful family.  My children attend Portsmouth Schools, and I myself was born and raised in the neighboring Strafford County. When I am not tending to my clients, you can catch me on the water with my family, hanging with friends, or traveling.