A fireplace in a room draws attention. It’s a structural feature that infuses character to a home on its own merit, and when the fire is going it can become positively mesmerizing. It makes sense, then, that a homeowner who’s fortunate enough to boast a fireplace will want to highlight its appeal by decorating it. And when the holiday seasons roll around, the pull to bring out the spiderwebs and pumpkins, garlands, and greenery becomes all the more enticing.
Is It Safe To Decorate My Fireplace?
Decorating the fireplace is a beloved tradition in many homes. Yet, the safety factor of introducing objects where an open flame and high heat is often housed may be in question. That doesn’t mean that you have to forgo your holiday favorites – but it is essential to give safety concerns a top priority in your home decorating scheme. Here’s how to stay safer as you decorate your living space.
🔥 Book Your Sweeps & Inspections
Before delving into the decor, it’s crucial that you’ve established a solid foundation for fireplace safety by being serious about routine maintenance. You wouldn’t ignore a suspicious concern in your car or endlessly drive it without having it serviced. (We hope.) Similarly, there are non-negotiable practices related to the safety and efficiency of your fireplace and chimney. After all, you are literally housing a fire within your home in the firebox – surely this warrants some TLC.
There are two practices that are essential, annual chimney inspections and routine chimney sweepings:
- Annual chimney inspections ensure that your entire fireplace and chimney system is in proper working order and brings any potential structural, efficiency, or safety concerns into the light to be addressed. This protects the longevity of your system, your home itself, and the safety of those who live within it.
- Professional chimney sweepings clear your chimney of any blockages, creosote buildup, or debris that could otherwise become a fire hazard or obstruct proper ventilation.
🔥 Maintain Proper Clearances
Clear the area. Your well-tended fireplace is now ready to decorate. The first rule to follow?
Maintaining a safe, clutter-free zone of at least three feet around the fireplace or wood stove.
Be sure that furniture, curtains, decorative items and anything else combustible is kept at least thirty-six inches away from the fireplace. Be sure to attend to this guideline even when the temptation to let stockings or tinsel drape below the mantle is strong. This may mean finding a near-by banister to house stockings, hanging them higher, or simply being diligent about removing them each time you plan to light a fire – and not replacing them until the ashes have completely cooled.
🔥 Invest in a Fireplace Screen
Consider adding a screen or other barriers in front of your firebox. A fire screen or some doors will act as a protective barrier between the fire and the room. Screens keep sparks and embers contained. Remember that a screen doesn’t eliminate the need to maintain a clearance of three feet around the fireplace, however – sparks are not the only factor in the risk of uncontained fire, as sheer heat output is also a danger.
🔥 Be Selective With Decor
Be selective about decorations. Avoid using flammable or combustible materials for your fireplace decor. Look instead for decor marked as fire-resistant. In case of an emergency, these better withstand the spread of fire. Non-flammable decorations (such as those made of materials like stone and metal) make great options for embellishing fireplaces.
Another consideration? Using LED candles instead of real ones. They replicate the flickering ambiance without the risk – this is especially true if the candles are meant to be placed on the mantle, where the greater warmth can soften wax candles and cause them to burn more quickly.
🔥 Secure Your Decorations
Secure decorations well. If decorations are on the mantle or on the perimeter of the three foot mark, anchor them well to prevent them from tipping or rolling. Avoid top-heavy decorations or those that will be especially enticing to children or pets.
How Far Should a Christmas Tree Be From the Fireplace?
Of course, one iconic decoration hasn’t been mentioned yet. The Christmas tree is often the star of the holiday ambiance. One of the most common safety concerns during the holiday season is the proximity of the Christmas tree to the fireplace.
It’s generally recommended to keep your Christmas tree at least three feet away from the wood stove or fireplace. This distance helps reduce the risk of sparks, embers, or high heat igniting the tree. A heat-resistant mat placed under the tree would further protect the floor and promote safety.
If you prefer a real tree, be sure to keep it fresh and well hydrated. A dry tree is not only likely to create a mess of fallen needles – it’s also more hazardous in terms of fire safety. Keep the area around the tree uncluttered, as well, as you don’t want gifts to drift too close to the hearth.
Enjoy Your Fireplace to the Fullest – Hire Us
We prioritize fire safety to promote the full enjoyment of all a fireplace or wood stove can bring to a home. If you have any fireplace-related needs, don’t hesitate to reach out! Our seasoned experts are professional and service oriented, and will work to keep your home a haven all year long.
Call or book online with us today.