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10 Tips for Fireplace Safety

Keep your fireplace safe this winter.


On a cold winter night, a warm fire in the fireplace is just the thing to ward off the season’s chill. Before you light the first fire of the season, make sure your fireplace is safe to use.

Whether you use a fireplace for heat or that cozy feeling, here are some tips to keep you and your home safe this winter, and to keep your fireplace burning brightly and safely.

  • Have your chimney cleaned and inspected at least once a year by a chimney specialist.
  • If you burn wood, only burn dry, seasoned wood, not scrap wood, treated wood or trash.
  • Always have a fireplace screen in place.
  • Create a three-foot “safety zone” around any fireplace that is free of flammable material.
  • Never use flammable liquids to start a fire.
  • Extinguish the fire before going to bed or leaving the house.
  • Don’t close the damper until the embers have completely stopped burning.
  • Make sure all vent pipes extend at least three feet above your roof.
  • Always have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in all levels of your home – especially sleeping areas.
  • Have working fire extinguishers on hand and within easy reach.

Outside of Your HomeFireplace safety extends outside of your home as well. Make sure your chimney has a cap on it to prevent rain, debris, small animals and birds from getting into your fireplace. Also, trim any branches that may drop leaves or twigs into your chimney, creating a fire hazard.

During the chilly months ahead, take a few precautions so you can enjoy the warmth and coziness your fireplace can bring.

Check out these related resources:

Fireplace SafetyChimney and Fireplace Care