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Fireplace Safety

Fireplace Safety and Codes

When you've been in the fireplace business as long as we have, you can easily spot fireplace safety hazards. Safety hazards can range from the wrong type of pipe used to vent the fireplace, to the wrong type of facing around it.  And the causes of fireplace hazards could be one of many things. Perhaps the builder installing the fireplace cut some corners, or the homeowner before you decided to renovate it himself, or it could be the house is old and time has taken its toll.  Whatever the cause may be, it is imperative that you spot these hazards and fix them for the safety of your home and your family.

We highly recommend you have a certified professional come out and check your fireplace and chimney if you've never had it done. A professional from your area would know all of the local codes that you are required to meet, as well as the national ones. The codes are a set of safety standards that everyone with a fireplace needs to follow in order to have a fireplace. Codes can change over time, and there may need to be some changes you need to make to your fireplace to keep your home up to code.

 

 

 

Click on the photos below to see some unsafe practices for fireplace renovations.

Never Remove the Louvers

This homeowner wanted to update the look of his pre-fab fireplace, so he removed the front metal facing with the louvers.  Unfortunately, by doing this you ruin the integrity of the fireplace.  Many times the front metal piece of a zero clearance fireplace is what holds the weight of the fireplace, keeping the firebox in place.  The louvers are also there to protect you from overheating and from flammable items getting into areas of the fireplace where they could combust. 
The homeowner had already disposed of the front piece that he took off, so he was required to replace the entire fireplace before using it. 

         Customer removed louvers and made fireplace unsafe

Stick With Metal Studs

This homeowner gave his fireplace a beautiful new surround.  The ledgestone looks amazing, unfortunately, he framed around the front of his fireplace with 2x4's.  Being as they are wood, they are highly combustible and cannot be within 6-12 inches of the front of the fireplace.  All of this hard work in creating a very beautiful looking fireplace surround ended up with the homeowner either having to take it down and reframe it with metal studs or not using the fireplace anymore.

Updating fireplace with 2x4's too close to the flames - safety hazard.

Drywall + Fireplace = House Fire

This homeowner renovated his fireplace and put sheetrock or drywall up around the front of his fireplace.  Unfortunately, this is highly flammable and is not an appropriate or safe fireplace surround.  The sheetrock had to be removed and replaced with any type of non-combustible surround - stone, tile, marble, or metal.  

Homeowner put drywall up around the front of his fireplace

National Safety Tip Sheets

We gathered some amazing tip sheets from the National Fire Protection Association. Since our customers are from all around, we wanted to give you some tips that are valid nationally.

Please remember that you will be responsible for researching and following your state's information regarding fireplace codes.

Heating Safety Tip Sheet

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Carbon Monoxide Safety Tip Sheet

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References

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). 2017. Heating Safetyhttps://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/Teaching-tools/Safety-tip-sheets

National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). 2017. Carbon Monoxide Safetyhttps://www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/Teaching-tools/Safety-tip-sheets