Winter is upon us, the days are shorter and they certainly are colder. You could say its fireplace season and for those in the know, that means cold evenings cozied up to your warm, glowing, ambient fire.

With the holiday season behind us, you may already know that your fireplace can become an inviting focal point for you and your guests. But with the hustle and bustle of entertaining your guests, you may have found it difficult to keep watch over your crackling fire.

We’d like to take the time to remind everyone of some important fireplace safety tips and if any of these list items kept you from enjoying your last get-together, a new gas or electric fireplace insert may be just what you need.

1. Annual Inspection

This should always be number one on the list, not just in time for social gatherings but any time of year. The build-up of creosote, soot, and other debris create flammable fire hazards and cracks, holes, or corrosion can prevent proper ventilation or bring the chimney’s structural integrity into question. A professional inspector/cleaner will give you peace of mind and save you money on costly repairs and damages down the line.

2. Stay Mindful of Your Guests

When your guests arrive and the fire is lit, few may be able to resist its inviting and warm allure but keep in mind it may not always be attended. It’s easy to be distracted by your dinner preparation and to be focused on your company that your festive fire may end up without supervision. Also, there may very well be small children and pets moving about, don’t let their curiosity get them into trouble.

3. Decorate with Care

Can you picture your beautifully decorated mantle? Avoid draping cloth material or greenery over the edges, one stray spark can ruin your masterful décor in no time. All furnishings should be at least 3 feet away from your fireplace or more, depending on the size of fire you like to keep. In fact, almost every decoration, piece of furniture, or feature should be considered highly combustible. Just remember to hang every adornment with care.

4. Learn What (not) to Burn

Most of our customers in the Bay Area have already transitioned their traditional wood-burning fireplaces to gas or electric inserts. However, if you’re still burning wood, remember that the only wood you should be burning is dry seasoned firewood. Other woods can create more creosote build-up and more smoke. Most importantly, never dispose of any trash, unwanted clutter, or household items in your fireplace. Printed paper material or unsuitable wood (e.g. branches w/ pine needles) burn hot and fast with a much higher risk of sparks and even toxic air due to the chemicals found in packaging material.

5. Be Mindful of the Afterglow

A simple yet important reminder, at the end of the evening, be certain your fireplace is contained and/or completely extinguished before turning in. Spread out the remaining embers and cover them up with ash. If you do scoop out the ashes afterward just be certain to place them in a safe place outdoors and away from any other flammable materials.

Everything Considered…

Ultimately these tips are simple reminders intended to help keep you and yours safe this winter. If a new and improved fireplace is on your wish list, a new gas fireplace insert should really be considered. Not only do they come in a variety of styles designed to fit well with any décor, but they are energy efficient and won’t send all of their hot air up the chimney. Plus… they are completely enclosed which will alleviate most concerns listed above.

Learn More About Fireplaces From the Experts at Creative Energy

If ever you have questions about maintaining your existing fireplace or are considering having a new fireplace installed, the experienced staff at Creative Energy would be more than happy to assist you. Contact one of our three Bay Area showrooms located in San Rafael, San Mateo, and Concord today to get started.