When many people think about their fireplace during the holiday season, they visualize stockings hung from the mantle. This is a charming and classic holiday scene, but it’s also incredibly dangerous if you’re planning on lighting a fire. What hazards should you think twice about before decorating your fireplace and mantle during the holidays and beyond?
Take Décor Down When a Fire Is Lit
If you really want your stockings or other décor hung on the fireplace, you should remove them before lighting a fire. Anything that dangles in front of the fire, like ribbons or greenery, could ignite and cause a dangerous fire. If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of removing décor every time you light a fire, it is best to avoid this type of décor entirely.
Keep the Tree Away
Never put a holiday tree within a few feet of the fireplace. Small sparks can travel to the tree and cause it to ignite. Fireplaces also put out a great deal of heat, and it is best to place trees and living décor elsewhere. Every year, there are tragic fires across the country due to real trees that catch on fire.
Use a Fire Screen
Especially if you have guests, children, or pets in your house, you should use a fire screen or gate around the fireplace. Pets and children can be attracted to the warmth and look of the fireplace and get too close for comfort. As always, you should keep an eye on children and pets any time you have a lit fire in the fireplace, as injuries can still happen with a fire screen or gate.
Flammable Décor Should Be Three Feet Away—At a Minimum
Many types of holiday décor are flammable, from paper garlands to greenery. Even if you don’t place it on your mantle or fireplace, you should still keep it at least three feet away from the fireplace. The intense heat of the fireplace can damage certain materials, and stray sparks can cause fires. Keeping flammable objects away is particularly important when unwrapping presents or hosting a party, as things might be unwittingly shifted closer to the fire.
Only Burn Seasoned Firewood
Have you ever unwrapped a present and tossed the wrapping paper into the fireplace? When your holiday tree is no longer useful, do you toss some of the wood into the fire? Never burn anything other than seasoned firewood. Wrapping paper and paper décor often have toxic chemicals that can be released when burned. Wood also needs to dry out for at least six months to be dry enough that it burns safely. If you burn unseasoned wood, it can cause excessive smoke that decreases the air quality in your home.
Get Your Fireplace Cleaned Today!
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