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Smart Tips to Keep Your Fireplace Burning Safely this Season

Last Updated on December 23, 2019

Whether you’re roasting chestnuts on an open fire or setting the scene for a cozy winter’s night, properly maintaining your fireplace is an important step to ensuring a safe and enjoyable time around your hearth. This month, Granite and TREND Transformations is sharing some important fireplace safety and maintenance tips to get you ready for winter, along with the best ways to get the fire burning.

Feet with socks in front of fire place

Safety First

Before you strike a match, it’s important to take some preliminary measures to check that your fireplace is ready for the season. Here are some fireplace safety tips to keep in mind this winter.

  • Experts agree to make sure your chimney damper is free of any blockages. Hiring a professional is the best way to have peace of mind in knowing that your fireplace will be operating efficiently and safely.
  • Remove any ashes and debris from the firebox. Some experts say leaving an inch of ashes on the bottom of the firebox can act like insulation and help the coals heat faster and retain heat.
  • It’s recommended that a fire should not burn for more than five hours.
  • Never leave children home alone with a fire burning.
  • Opening a window will help the room from becoming smoky.


Following some quick and easy fireplace maintenance tips can help you prepare your home for months of enjoyment.

  • For perfect viewing, clean the glass doors of any smoke or heat stains by scraping them with a razor blade when the doors are cool. Then, use a fireplace glass cleaner to wipe the glass clean, and dry with a lint-free cloth or newspaper. A simple solution of vinegar and warm water or dishwashing liquid works just as well.
  • The use of manufactured logs, clean seasoned wood, and non-glossy white paper are great ways to burn clean fires in your fireplace. They also help to keep maintenance at a minimum while reducing hazardous smoke.
  • Check the adjustments on your dampers or air inlets to make sure the smoke that comes out of your chimney is not dark and smoky. This may indicate your fire wasn’t lit properly or is burning incorrectly. A properly lit fire should emit a thin stream of white steam.
  • Protect your floors or carpeting by placing a non-flammable rug in front of your fireplace. You never know when a rogue spark may fly out and possibly damage your floor or carpeting.

Lit match in front of fireplace

Getting the Fire Started

Lighting the first fire of the season can be a momentous event. Here are some important steps to take for building the perfect fire:

  • When it comes to starting a fire, kindling is said to be the cleanest and most efficient material to use in your fireplace. Burning resinous wood such as pine or evergreen can cause flare-ups which might leave creosote (a flammable, gummy deposit) in your flue.
  • After you have opened the glass doors and pulled the screen curtains open, place the kindling inside and open the damper and a window in the room. (The window only should be open a few inches.) Experts suggest to avoid using magazines or newspapers as some of these can emit toxic smoke – due to the various types of inks used in the printing process – and might send burning ashes up the flue, which could possibly ignite a fire on your roof.
  • Flammable liquids such as gasoline or lighter fluid should never be used to light or rekindle a fire since they can cause explosions, serious injury or even death.
  • Once your fire is burning, be sure to keep the glass doors open to allow the air to cool your chimney. It’s important to keep the screen curtains closed to prevent any sparks from landing on your carpeting or flooring.
  • Always use fireplace tools – never your hands – to handle burning logs.

After the Fire

  • Keep the damper open and take caution when it’s time to remove ashes, since coals can remain hot for up to three days after the fire has burned out.
  • When it’s safe, close the damper, put on a dust mask, and open a window in the same room as the fireplace. (This will help prevent negative air pressure.) You can now remove the ashes and place them in a metal container. You must then store the container far away from any combustible materials or surfaces, which also includes wooden floors.

We hope you have found these fireplace safety and maintenance tips helpful. Care to know about special surfaces that can complement your fireplace nicely? Learn about our beautiful etheriumTM by E-Stone surfaces. Contact Granite and TREND Transformations today for your free in-home design consultation.


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