A traditional family and friends’ gathering place during the holidays, the fireplace is also a central focus as a part of seasonal decor, and as Santa Claus’ entrance. However, holiday decorations, including your Christmas tree, can quickly and easily become fire hazards if you do not follow certain fireplace safety tips. Part of our responsibilities as Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)-certified chimney sweeps at Aelite Chimney Specialties is to educate our customers on fire safety practices and procedures. The last thing we want is your holidays ruined by a house fire that could have been easily prevented. As part of our educational campaign, we would like to share some holiday fireplace safety tips from the Upper Merion Township, PA Fire and Rescue Services to keep your holiday season safe from a dangerous and deadly residential fire.

Holiday Fireplace - Chicago IL - Aelite Chimney

You can hang your Christmas stockings from the mantle, but never leave them there while a fire is burning.

We know the holiday tradition of hanging your stockings from your fireplace mantel, but you should always move your stockings when a flame is blazing in your fireplace. Have an alternate place to hang the stockings while you enjoy a roaring fire. We suggest installing small hooks on your staircase banister, on a bookcase, on the molding of an archway separating two rooms, or from your entertainment center.

You should not place any flammable decorations on or near your mantel because hot sparks and embers can fly out and start a fire.

Yes, you can decorate your fireplace mantel during the holidays, but you need to keep it clear of flammable decorations like greenery, ribbons, and paper because of the possibility of hot embers and sparks jumping from the fireplace and igniting a fire. Another way to prevent this sort of fire is to place glass fireplace doors or a metal screen in front of your fireplace, and this can also protect children and pets from coming too close to the fire and getting burned.

You should make sure you follow the three feet clearance rule.

Always keep anything flammable three feet away from your fireplace, and this includes your Christmas tree, presents, and other holiday decorations. Some people will place baskets of pine cones and greenery around the hearth as they do add a nice decorative touch. However, pine cones are used as fire starters and should never be close to a burning flame because an accidental fire involving a basket full of pine cones can quickly become out of control. Since Christmas trees can still be fire hazards due to faulty electric lights, you can use the fertilizer ammonium sulfate to make the tree fire retardant (but NOT fire proof). You just mix nine pounds of ammonium sulfate with two gallons of water in a bucket and simply place your tree inside the bucket for 48 hours in a dark, cool place, such as an unheated garage.

You should be careful what you burn in your fireplace after the holidays.

Not only can burning discarded gift wrapping paper cause flash fires, it can also create toxic fumes, including carbon monoxide, because of the dyes, inks, and coatings used in many kinds of wrapping paper. Additionally, you should never burn your Christmas tree in your fireplace after the holidays as unseasoned pine can easily ignite a chimney fire.

To be prepared for Santa’s visit, you should also be sure your chimney has been swept to clean out combustible creosote deposits. Contact Aelite Chimney Specialties as soon as possible if you have not scheduled your annual chimney sweeping and inspection yet. We will give you a clean chimney for Santa Claus to come in without getting soot on his suit.