It is officially cold enough in St. Louis to fire up your fireplace. Everybody loves to cozy up around the fire, and we want to make sure you are safe while doing so. Don’t forget you need fire protection in your homeowner’s insurance policy.

Here Are Our 14 Best Tips For Fireplace Safety

  1. Remember to open the flue before the first fire of the season. Before making the first fire, take a quick peak up the flue to make sure all is clear. No debris, birds, vermin nests, or cobwebs.
  2. Make sure you have the proper tools to operate the fireplace. Poker, tongs, and a small metal shovel.
  3. Make sure your chimney is inspected by a Certified Chimney Inspector.
  4. Install a smoke and carbon monoxide monitor. Make sure batteries stay fresh. (Change your batteries when you change your clocks for daylight savings time.)
  5. Have a fire extinguisher in a handy place and make sure everyone knows how to use it.
  6. Make sure your fire screen is in good repair. If you have glass doors, then clean them.
  7. Make sure the person loading the wood for the fire use proper techniques. (There are many videos on Youtube explaining the fireplace and how to build a proper fire.)
  8. Never use gasoline or any liquid accelerant.
  9. Never burn Christmas paper in your fireplace. Wrapping paper emits toxic smoke.
  10. Make sure you have a fire-resistant fireplace mat in front of the fireplace. They come in many styles and colors. They will save your hardwood and carpeting from the inevitable sparks.
  11. Never leave a fire unattended.
  12. Make sure the area around the fireplace is completely free of flammable materials. Usually, a five-foot diameter is sufficient.
  13. When cleaning the fireplace of old ashes, remember to place them in a non-combustible container with a tight lid and place the container away from the house. Never throw ashes directly into a trash can. Make sure the ashes remain in the container for at least four to five days.
  14. Use common sense. (Don’t let your drunk uncle tamper with the fire.)

Fireplace Safety FAQs

How Do You Safely Use A Fireplace?

Always use fireplace tools, not your hands, for handling burning logs. Do not use a fireplace as a furnace. A fireplace should be used for no more than five hours at a time. Use a screen in front of the fire to prevent possible sparks from causing a house fire.

Can A Fireplace Catch Your House On Fire?

Slow Burning – This quieter version of a chimney fire is no less dangerous. You may not even know it has taken place. These undetected fires burn slowly and at high temperatures that can cause more than just structural damage to your chimney, they can easily catch flammable parts of your home on fire as well.

How To Make Sure Your Fireplace & Chimney Are Safe

1. There's no bird nest or debris buildup on the cap. 2. There are no tree limbs above or near the chimney. 3. The mortar and bricks on the chimney aren't crumbling or missing. 4. The chimney rises at least 2 feet above where it exits the roof.

Why Do Fireplaces Explode?

Though very rare, gas fireplaces are susceptible to explosions and sudden fires. If the pilot light isn't sitting properly when the gas begins to flow, gas may build up and explode. Regular checks of the pilot light are important to keep this from happening.

How Do I Prevent Carbon Monoxide In My Wood Fireplace?

Be sure to open the damper on your wood fireplace every time you use it. Operate all space heaters in a well-ventilated area. Keep your wood burning fireplace or stove in good repair. Replace any worn or damaged parts.

Contact IASTL Today For A New Homeowner’s Insurance Quote