8 Safety Tips for Decorating Around the Fireplace All Year

decorating around the fireplace

Although the prevalence of fireplaces in newly built homes has declined, there are still millions of American homes that have them.

Fireplaces are a fantastic way to heat your living space in the cooler months. They also make for the perfect cozy gathering space for the entire family. Whether you’ve got a fireplace in your home now or you’re looking to have one installed, safety is paramount.

Safety includes the ways you use the fireplace, but also how you decorate it. Decorating around the fireplace is a no-brainer, especially around the holidays, but it’s important to take fireplace safety into account. Keep reading and we’ll give you 8 essential safety tips to prevent any decoration-related disasters.

1. Fireplace Design Tips

If you’re installing a new wood or gas fireplace, there are some design methods you can employ to boost safety. To have a mantel that you can decorate, for instance, you’ll want it to be at least a foot clear of the fireplace opening.

The hearth needs to be wide enough to give you enough clearance to decorate around the fireplace. All areas of the fireplace should be constructed from non-combustible materials. To get help designing a safe fireplace that you can decorate, get in touch with one of our designers.

2. Use Fire-Resistant Decorations

Winter holidays are usually the time when you’ll be putting vast decorations around your fireplace. Whatever decorations you’re using, it’s crucial to ensure that they’re made of fire-resistant materials.

Otherwise, you’re going to have to remove them every time you turn your fireplace on, then put them back up when you turn it off. In the event you forget to remove your decorations before igniting the fire, having non-resistant decorations puts you at risk of a house fire.

In addition, the NFPA recommends that you leave 3 feet of space around your fireplace. This includes things on the floor, like a Christmas tree, as well as things sitting on top of your mantel. It’s a year-round rule that you should always keep in mind when you’re lighting a fire.

3. Don’t Hang Things From the Mantel

It’s in your best interest to avoid hanging anything from your fireplace mantel. Things like stockings, garlands, and wreaths look lovely above the fireplace, but they should never dangle down from the mantel.

Again, you’ll have to take everything down from the mantel when you ignite the fireplace. The heat alone could be enough to burn hanging decorations, but it’s the climbing flames that you really need to worry about.

4. Screens, Fireplace Owner’s Best Friend

An open wood fireplace can really set the mood in a living space, but there are clear and obvious dangers to having an open flame. It’s not just your decorations that could catch on fire, but people – children, especially – are at risk of burning themselves if they get too close.

Putting up a fireplace safety gate will keep children and pets away from the open flames. They’ll also prevent flames from reaching the decorations you’ve put up nearby. If you’re worried about sparks hitting your decorations, a screen will keep the sparks contained in the fireplace.

Electric Fireplaces 1

5. Keep a Fire Extinguisher Nearby

Every fireplace owner should have a tested and functional fire extinguisher nearby in the event something goes wrong. Even if you follow every safety tip we offer up in this article, it’s still possible that something could catch fire and devastate your entire home.

In the event of a fire, how quickly you can put the flames out will determine the level of property damage. Each member of your household should know how to use the extinguisher and you should have it inspected regularly to make sure it works.

6. Use Heavy, Stable Items

You don’t have to leave your mantel bare of decorations, despite what we’ve discussed. So long as you don’t have anything dangling down and use items that are heavy enough to remain stable on the mantel, you should be fine.

If you place items that are wobbly or easily knocked off of the mantel, that’s when you could end up in trouble. Depending on your fireplace style, you won’t exactly have a wealth of space to put your decorations. It’s important that they stay put.

For example, if you’ve got a thanksgiving wreath leaned up against the wall atop your mantel, it could easily be knocked off due to its weight. Putting it on a hook or securing it to the mantel with a weight will ensure that it doesn’t fall into the fire.

7. Get Your Fireplace Cleaned

Fireplace safety hinges on regular fireplace cleaning. Glaze, soot, and creosote can build up when you use your fireplace a lot, which creates more flammability. Adding decorations to this equation makes things a lot riskier.

Annual fireplace and chimney cleaning will prevent these hazards from building up in the fireplace. Whether you’ve got a wood or gas fireplace in your home, cleaning is an important part of fireplace safety.

8. Get an Electric Fireplace

There’s one surefire way to prevent any fireplace and decoration-related danger from entering your home; that’s installing an electric fireplace. An electric fireplace produces heat while simulating the look of a real fireplace, but has no actual flames.

They’re a great option for anyone that wants the warmth and ambiance of a fireplace without the maintenance. You can find plenty of high-end electric fireplaces on our website that are energy-efficient and safe to use.

Decorating Around the Fireplace, Safely

Now that you’ve got a better idea of how to decorate safely around your fireplace, you can keep your home and family safe without sacrificing any of your holiday spirit. Fireplaces can turn any living space into a cozy holiday nook that the entire family can enjoy, but safety has to be a top priority.

If you’re looking to install a new gas, electric, or wood fireplace in your home, contact us at Dreifuss Fireplaces. For nearly 150 years, we’ve been bringing the heat to Philadelphia homes with our amazing quality and service.

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