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A fire in the hearth is a warm and welcoming part of winter for many Texans, but flames inside the home should always be tended safely. Before you light your fireplace, we hope you consider safety first.
“Carbon monoxide exposure, burns and fire risks are the major hazards associated with fireplaces, but all of these can be addressed with a little planning and preparation,” said Patty Davis, deputy director of communications for the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
The federal agency, which monitors risks to consumers and makes recommendations for reducing potential hazards, cites home fireplaces, chimneys and chimney connectors as the leading causes of residential fires attributed to heating equipment.
An open and properly maintained flue ensures that fireplace gases can be vented to the outdoors through the chimney. Close the flue to help keep heat inside the home when the fireplace is not in use.
“Make sure that you have a protective barrier in front of your fireplace to prevent a child or grandchild from coming into direct contact with the glass front of the fire screen,” Davis said. “The surface temperature of the glass front can heat up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, which can cause very serious burns to a child.”
Many new fireplace screen sets include protective barriers or external screens designed to add that extra layer of protection to reduce burn risks.
If using a fireplace, be sure to have a carbon monoxide detector in the house. Odorless and colorless, carbon monoxide can quickly build up in the closed interior spaces of a home, leaving all occupants incapacitated.
While carbon monoxide detectors are now required under many building codes for new home construction that includes a fireplace, they also can be installed in older homes and on floors where they are needed.
According to the CPSC, fireplaces should be considered fuel-burning appliances, subject to the same safety precautions, inspections and maintenance standards recommended for other items in that category.
A regular inspection not only helps to ensure the system is tuned up for efficient operation, but it also gives the homeowner warnings of wear or damage that could potentially cause fires or other problems once the season is underway.
Posted: 1/4/2021 12:04:15 PM