7 Common Fireplace Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Of all hearth appliances, fireplaces are the oldest. They go all the way back to the Roman era when the wealthy built hypocaust systems for heating public spaces and private villas.

Today, we have some better options than hauling a cauldron of boiling water upstairs. Yet the custom-built ones of the wealthy are still our aspirational idea of a great fire.

Suppose you’re ready to build your own custom furnace, great. If you’re just looking to keep your existing model humming, that’s great, too. Either way, this post is for you, full of common fireplace mistakes that many homeowners make.

Let’s get into it.

1. Not Knowing Your Fireplace Type 

Gas and wood-burning fireplaces are the two basic varieties. Each type has its own unique set of pros and cons, so it’s important to do your research before deciding which one is right for your home.

Another common mistake is not properly maintaining it. Whether you have a wood-burning or gas furnace, it’s important to have it inspected and cleaned on a regular basis. Neglecting to do so can lead to serious safety hazards.

2. Using the Wrong Type of Wood

Different types of wood burn differently and generate heat in different ways.

Softwoods like pine and cedar burn quickly and cause less heat, while hardwoods like oak and maple burn more slowly and bring extra heat.

Certain types of wood produce extra sparks and embers than others, which can be a safety hazard in preventing fireplace accidents.

In addition, some woods are more likely to create smoke and soot, which can be difficult to clean up.

Using the wrong type of wood can lead to a fire that burns too quickly or too slowly.

To avoid this mistake, make sure to consult your inglenook owner’s manual or a professional before using any type of wood in it. 

3. Utilizing Fuel or Lighter Fluid 

This can be extremely dangerous and should always be avoided. If you must use a lighter, make sure it is fully extinguished before placing it back in the holder. Another common mistake is placing too much fireplace wood and fuel in the blaze at once.

This can cause the fire to get out of control and create a serious safety hazard. Start with a small fire and gradually add more wood as needed.

You can see that it is impossible to foretell how soon or how high the flames will rise. Additionally, employing lighter fluid indoors could cause significant, potentially fatal harm.

You might be tempted to start your fire with the same tools you use to preheat your backyard grill during the summer.

4. Excessive Exposure to Toxic Aroma

The logs that emit the pleasant ambiance you enjoy also produce minute airborne contaminants that can penetrate deep within your lungs and contain significant amounts of compounds linked to cancer and heart disease.

Make sure you aren’t overdoing it because their fumes have been compared to being just as deadly as smoking cigarettes or breathing in car exhaust.

Although there are numerous alternatives, most people don’t give choosing the right wood for their blaze much care.

Learn more here about gas as an alternative to a fireplace that burns wood. The Flame Company provides a wide range of both conventional and contemporary alternatives for you.

Ensure its quality to ensure the well-being of you and your family.

5. Christmas Decorations Being Placed Too Closely

One of the most common fireside mistakes is placing Christmas decorations too close to the fire.  This can cause a fire hazard, as the heat can easily ignite the ornament which makes it difficult to clean the furnace. To avoid this, make sure to measure the space between the mantel and the hearth before placing any decor.  

If possible, use non-flammable decor instead. Another mistake is neglecting to clean the furnace.

A buildup of soot and ash can be a hazard, so it’s important to keep it clean. To do this, simply sweep it out after each use.

6. Not Having Proper Ventilation

Having proper ventilation is key to keeping it burning safely and efficiently. Without doing it properly, it can produce smoke and dangerous gasses that can be harmful to your health.

Some things you can do to ensure proper air circulation are to open the damper before lighting a fire and to keep it open until the fire is completely out. You should also keep a fireplace maintenance routine for the area to a clean and free of debris.

A lack of air circulation can cause the fire to smolder and produce a large amount of smoke.

This smoke can quickly fill the room and pose a severe risk to your health. Always make sure there is plenty of ventilation when using it to avoid this dangerous situation.

7. Not Having Your Chimney Inspected Regularly 

Cracks may eventually cause the poisons lining the chimney to flow into your house. A fresh fire can start from even a few ashes that get caught in the crevices, which can ignite the entire structure.

Above all, before you start your first fire of the season, you should always, always have a professional inspect and sweep your fireside and chimney at least once a year.

Common Fireplace Mistakes: Prevention Is Better Than Cure

There are a few key things to keep in mind when using your fireside to avoid common fireplace mistakes.

To prevent a hazardous accumulation of soot and creosote, make sure to get your chimney cleaned and inspected once a year. To reduce the amount of smoke and creosote buildup, only burn dry, seasoned wood in your fireplace.

By following these simple tips, you can enjoy your fireside worry-free all winter long.

Like this article? Then come back for more articles that serve as a guide for leading a healthier and safer lifestyle.

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