A Fireplace is simply magical and integral for incorporating a homely atmosphere. From the natural crackling sounds and dancing bright orange flames to the inviting smell of burning wood, you will safely land in the world of hypnosis. It's the perfect cure for the winter blues to keep you and your family cosy year-round.
While your children will benefit from a fireplace, their curiosity and peppiness put them at risk of a Fire hazard. Children suffer various injuries annually from playing too close to an open fire source. Knowing fireplace safety tips for kids and observing them can prevent these accidents. This article lists five safety tips every parent should read before lighting their hearth.
1. Ensure the damper or flue is open
Open the damper before starting the fire to allow the smoke to escape. Confirm this by using a flashlight or a mirror to look up your chimney. Remember that keeping it closed until all the wood burns out is advisable. It eliminates any risks associated with pulmonary and respiratory issues due to inhaling these dangerous fumes.
2. Choose dry and well-aged wood
Wet or green wood is the enemy of fresh and quality air in the home. It contributes to more smoke and causes soot buildup in the chimney. It also makes it challenging to start a fire. On the contrary, dried wood burns evenly, has minimal smoke, and is easier to fire up. As a result, it boosts your comfort levels without risking your health.
3. Supervise the fireplace
It's recommended never to leave the fireplace unattended. If you have to leave the kids with a burning fireplace, ensure an adult supervises them. If that's not possible, extinguish the fire to be safe.
As we know, where kids are present, mischief is sure to follow. The possibilities include unintentionally touching the burning embers or fireplace walls, leading to burns, which can be avoided with adult supervision.
It's best if you also educate your children on fireplace hazards. They should understand the fireplace and the dangers of getting too close. Setting some fireplace rules can help, like staying at least five feet away from the fireplace. Also, incorporate penalties for breaking the rule and remain true to your word.
Lastly, ensure that the fireplace area is free of any flammable items that could catch fire and cause harm to your family or property. It ranges from furniture and drapes to books.
4. Inspect the chimney
A professional should inspect your chimney every once a year. Moreover, conduct routine checks to ensure the chimney is clean. As earlier mentioned, using dry wood produces less smoke, promoting cleanliness around the system. Note that animal nests and other blockages can find a home in your chimney; you mustn't wait too long before performing an examination.
In addition, clear any ashes from previous fires. The maximum level of ash at the fireplace base should be 1 inch. A thick ash layer prevents the air from adequately reaching the logs, causing more smoke.
5. Keep the fireplace accessories and tools from children's reach
Put away your lighters and matches in places your children can't access. Installing both smoke and carbon monoxide detectors also offers peace of mind. The sensors detect potential fires and poisonous gases to alert you. You can also go the extra mile by buying a fire extinguisher to contain a fire while waiting for the fire extinguishers to arrive.
Additional tip: Install a fireplace safety screen
Today's fireplace screens add a decorative touch while protecting your children from embers and sparks that can shoot out of the fire and cause an injury. Still, a screen doesn't give them credit for playing around the fireplace. Maintaining a safe distance is advisable. Adults should also set a good example by doing what they preach. Therefore, observe the safety precautions even when your hands yearn to interact with the therapeutic fire.
Wood or Gas Fireplaces?
Is there a clear-cut answer to this puzzling question? How about we put our feelings aside and get logical with their advantages and disadvantages below?
- It delivers an outstanding ambience
These fireplace beauties add a traditional yet gorgeous quality to any atmosphere. It is classical and provides a reason to bond with your family during the chilly months of the year.
- Its effect is phenomenal and real
Nothing beats authenticity. Every product of a wood fireplace is genuine and nostalgic, from the sounds to the smell of natural burning wood.
- It provides cooking opportunities
Have a bit of a chef in you? Then the wood fireplace will put your culinary skills to use with s'mores and other favourite bites that will delight your family and friends. A gas fireplace cannot offer this.
- It's fun to manage
It is not surprising to develop an affinity for a wood fireplace. It's not only beautiful but delightful. Lighting a fire successfully and maintaining the fire all night gives a sense of accomplishment and adds fun.
- It produces more emissions than gas
Generally, wood fireplaces generate more smoke, which is harmful to the environment. Additionally, it is slightly less energy efficient than gas: considerable heat is lost up the chimney. Still, wood is a renewable and more environment-friendly fuel source.
- It requires more effort
Wood fires require time and effort to start and keep them going. It may not be ideal if you are looking to enjoy the cosiness it provides without investing any effort.
- It requires planning to access good wood supply
This fireplace requires dry and aged wood to light quickly and minimise smoke. That calls for planning to secure suitable wood exactly when you need it. You'll also need space to store the wood and ensure they do not get wet.
- It only needs a flip of a switch
The ability to turn your gas fireplace on and off immediately offers convenience. You can even control the intensity of the fire and keep it burning for as long as you want. On the other hand, wood gas fireplaces depend on your effort.
- It eliminates worry
With gas fireplaces, you won't ever worry about hot ashes and embers creating a fire hazard. It is thanks to the completely controlled flames. It also doesn't require much chimney cleaning due to less dirt and smoke.
- It omits the need for sourcing and storing wood
Gas fires omit the hassle involved with using wood. You only secure a fuel supply, and once everything is set up, light it up as you please!
- It offers various chimney choices
These fireplaces can do without a chimney. Chimney options for gas fireplaces include direct-vent and vent-free varieties, which can be vented directly through the wall.
- It limits the fun factor
You just need your remote to light the fire and keep it hot per your needs. Some people enjoy the feeding factor, which adds fun.
- Its artificial nature turns some buyers off
By purchasing a gas fireplace, you miss out on enjoying the aesthetic crackling flames, authentic orange or red flames, and the smell of burning wood.
- It comes with unique maintenance needs
While gas fireplaces will spare you the regular cleaning involved with their counterparts, they need burner maintenance and gas line care.
So, gas or wood fireplace?
Everyone has reserved feelings about the answer, which makes sense. They offer different benefits and downsides regarding aesthetics, heating needs, and convenience. It's always safe to choose based on your home heating needs. Do you want to achieve an ambient atmosphere for a social experience? Or prefer less fuss? The wood fireplace is great for the former, while the gas fireplace is suitable for the latter.
Whether you select a wood or gas fireplace, it's essential to go out of your way to ensure the safety of your family and pets. Remember the above safety tips when using your fireplace to stay safe throughout the holiday. Scheduling your yearly inspection is also crucial to discover any issues in their early stages and prevent costly repairs and accidents.