Fireplace Safety Tips

Whether using a wood burning or a gas fireplace, there are some important fireplace safety tips to follow, making sure you can enjoy the warmth and comfort of a fire safely at home.

Wood Burning Fireplace Tips

· The National Fire Protection Association recommends having your chimney inspected and cleaned annually by a certified chimney specialist in to remove any built-up debris. For a list of certified specialists, visit

· Make sure the mantel and area around the hearth is clear of debris, decorations, and combustible/flammable materials. You do not want anything accidentally catching on fire.

· Never start a fire with flammable liquids or burn trash, debris or cardboard boxes.

· As always, make sure that you have smoke detectors installed on every floor of your house as well as inside and outside bedrooms. Be sure to test the batteries monthly to ensure all alarms are working.

· Do not leave a fire unattended and remember to put it out before leaving the house or going to bed. Pay close attention to the embers to ensure that there are no remaining red embers going that could be at risk for catching fire again.

· Keep an eye on small children when a fire is burning and keep them away from fireplace tools. Installing a childproof fireplace gate is a great idea, so there is no risk of injury.

· If your wood-burning fireplace has glass doors, leave them open when burning a fire. This helps ensure that the fire receives enough air and prevents creosote (a gummy substance created during the burning process) from building up in the chimney and presenting an unnecessary fire hazard.

· When the glass doors are open, be sure the metal mesh screen is closed, which will help contain the embers.

· If possible, avoid using soft, moist wood, which accelerates the buildup of creosote. Seasoned hardwood is preferable.

Gas Fireplace Tips

· Just like with a wood-burning fireplace, it is important to ensure that your gas fireplace is properly vented. An annual inspection and cleaning of the chimney will remove any built-up of gas residue that can pose a problem.

· When turned on the surface temperature of the outside glass of the fireplace can reach between 400 and 600 degrees. This is hot enough to cause third degree burns. Be sure to keep children and pets away from the area.

· In 2015 safety standards were implemented requiring the glass of a gas fireplace to be equipped with a barrier or safety screen. If your gas fireplace is not equipped with this, now is a good time to install a freestanding safety screen or protective cover.

· Real firewood and other debris cannot be burned in a gas fireplace. Adding these items can destroy the heating element and pose a serious safety hazard.

· Since the fireplace utilizes gas, it is important that the operation be restricted only to adults in the household. Children trying to turn on the fireplace may do so incorrectly, causing a gas leak.

· Installing a spark arrestor at the top of the chimney, even when the fireplace is gas, can keep unwanted debris and animals from getting into the area.

· Just like with a wood-burning fireplace, it is important that you have a functioning carbon monoxide detector to head off any problems if the fireplace is malfunctioning. Proper ventilation will prevent this gas from lingering in the home and a carbon monoxide alarm will alert the homeowners if there is a problem

A fireplace is a great way to enjoy the cold winter nights with your family. By following these fireplace safety guidelines, you can be assured that you are operating your fireplace safely.


About Woodard Cleaning & Restoration

Woodard Cleaning & Restoration was founded in 1946 by Earl and Nancy Woodard. Located in St. Louis, Missouri, Woodard services the greater metro area (Illinois, St. Charles County, Jefferson County, St. Louis County, and many more). Woodard is proud to serve as the preferred provider for cleaning & restoration services. Our cleaning services include carpet, hard surface, furniture, and rug cleaning for both residential and commercial properties. We also provide water, fire, board-up, storm and smoke restoration services for residential and commercial clients. For information or questions submit a form online or call us at 314-227-3932.

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Updated 12/30/2021