'Tis the season to light up the fireplace.
Curling up in front of a warm fireplace is one of the joys of the fall and winter season. But before you light that fire, there are a few important safety tips to keep in mind.
Every type of fireplace, whether wood-burning, gas, or electric, poses a potential danger to everyone in your home.
These 12 fireplace safety tips can help ensure your family can safely enjoy the crackling warmth.
Manufactured logs also burn hotter than regular wood, and can potentially warp a metal chimney if you burn more than one log at a time. Be sure to follow the directions on the bag for lighting and use.
Only burn wood or manufactured logs in your fireplace, as some items - including wrapping paper and foam peanuts - release toxic fumes. And never burn Christmas greenery in the fireplace.
Though a roaring fire in the fireplace looks attractive, it's really not as safe as a more controlled burn. Just a couple of logs at a time, please. A too-hot fire can crack your chimney - necessitating an expensive chimney repair.
Ensure fireplace logs - whether wood or manufactured - are stacked as far as possible to the back of the fireplace. This will help ensure sparks and embers don't spark out of the fireplace and into your carpet.
Open the damper before you light a fire in your fireplace, and keep the damper open until the fire is completely extinguished.
Don't position your Christmas tree - or anything else - near the fireplace. Should embers spark out of the fireplace and into the room, you want to make sure there is nothing nearby that will catch fire.
For safety's sake, never leave a fire unattended. And yes, this means you shouldn't go to sleep with a fire blazing away.
Fires require about five times as much oxygen as a room usually needs. To make sure there's enough oxygen for the fire to burn efficiently, open a window when you light a fire.
If you drape your fireplace mantel with garlands or hang stockings or cards from it, don't light a fire. These flammable items are too close for comfort.
Stash a fire extinguisher near the fireplace so that it's handy - just in case.