The holiday season is your fireplace’s time to shine. A fireplace can help you keep your crowd warm, but it is also the focal point of many holiday decorations—even serving as a backdrop for family photos. While you’re making it look its best for the holidays, remember that the fireplace is dangerous if precautions aren’t taken while decorating and operating.
Decorating the Mantel
If your chimney system and hearth are properly-constructed, there shouldn’t be any risk in decorating your mantel.
- If your flue lining system is in good shape, you can hang a wreath or decorations onto the face of your chimney without fear of it getting heated. Just make sure that you get professional advice about how to add fasteners to your masonry.
- When decorating the top of your mantel, make sure that items are secure. Branches and flowers should be in an appropriately-sized vase that holds them securely and will not tip over. Loose items like pine cones or nuts should be in a dish so they do not roll. Any garland or lights should be secured with hooks.
- Traditionally, stockings are hung over the fire because socks were once hung at the hearth to dry or warm. If your fireplace can dry wet socks, imagine what can happen if store bought stockings are left to hang over the fireplace. Most stockings sold in the US are made of highly-flammable synthetic materials. If you choose to hang your stockings from your mantel, make sure they are easily removable so that you can remove them before lighting a fire. Designate a place for the stockings, away from the fireplace until it’s time to hang them again.
Decorating the Hearth
Your hearth may very well be your favorite part of your fireplace system. Many homeowners put their own personal touch into the design of the hearth itself, and decorating it is no different. If you choose to place freestanding decorations near your hearth, keep them a safe distance away, or to the side of the fireplace, on the outside of the fireplace screen. Items that are flammable or in danger of falling into the fire should be moved away before lighting it. Never decorate your fireplace door, screen, or opening.
Decorating the Tree
As long as you purchase appropriate lights for your tree, water it regularly, and place it away from the fire, you shouldn’t have a problem with your Christmas tree. Avoid vintage lights that are not tested for safe use by today’s standards. Bubble lights and early electric lights (typically big-bulb) can get too hot for a natural cut-tree. Do not place candles near your tree, or on your tree, and stand your tree far enough away from the fireplace opening so that it won’t reach it if it tips over.
Christmastime is a good time to check your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Make a fire escape plan with your family, including two ways out, and practice it. Discuss fireplace safety with family and guests, and oversee decorating and fireplace operation to avoid accidental injuries and fire.
Click here to learn more about safe holiday decorating. Hudson Chimney’s first concern is the safety of our customers. Call Hudson Chimney at 904-282-4159 if you have questions or concerns.