Posted by & filed under Fire Hazards, Safety Tips

Fireplaces are designed strictly to burn seasoned wood; however, that doesn’t stop a number of people from burning other things in them. Burning the wrong items can be harmful in more ways than one, which is why our chimney sweeps recommend you avoid placing the following things in your fireplace.

Paper Products

It’s perfectly acceptable to use a small amount of paper to start your fire with. However, burning large amounts of any type of paper is something you should avoid. Paper tends to ignite quickly, and can result in a very large flame that spills out of your firebox or even extends up your chimney. This can greatly increase your risk of fire, which is why you should avoid burning large quantities of:

  • Newspaper
  • Wrapping paper
  • Cardboard
  • Magazines

Environmental Hazards

Certain flammable items can pose an environmental hazard by producing harmful fumes and/or gasses inside your home, in addition to emitting toxic fumes into the atmosphere. A few of these flammable items include:

  • Styrofoam
  • Plastic
  • Pressure-treated lumber
  • Wood that has been previously stained or painted

In addition, you should never use liquids such as kerosene, gasoline, or charcoal starter fluid to get a fire going. Doing so increases your risk of an explosion, in addition to producing harmful fumes that may cause adverse side effects such as vomiting, headaches, and nausea.

Miscellaneous Items

The following miscellaneous items should never be placed in your fireplace, due to an increased risk of toxic fumes, smoke, or creosote buildup:

  • Yard waste such as leaves, twigs, cut grass, etc.
  • Trash
  • Plywood or engineered wood
  • Christmas trees

To ensure the health and safety of your family, you should burn only seasoned wood in your fireplace. You should also have regular chimney inspections and cleanings performed to ensure everything is in good working order – give us a call if you need an inspection or cleaning.

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