The Allure Of Wood-Burning Fireplaces: 3 Safety Commandments You Must Follow

The allure of wood-burning fireplaces dazzles Canadian homeowners with their beauty, thus making it a popular household choice. According to the Hearth, Patio and Barbecue Association, 31% of 8,162,000 Canadian households have wood-burning fireplaces, and the designs of these fireplaces have improved drastically over the years to accommodate different needs and expectations. If you would like to install wood-burning fireplaces to light up and warm up your home, here are 3 safety commandments that you should never forget to follow.

Schedule Routine Chimney Inspections

Over time, the chimney of wood-burning fireplaces will begin to fill in with soot. While the installation and maintenance of wood-burning fireplaces is not regulated in Canada, most professionals would recommend scheduling routine chimney inspections annually regardless of the where you may live. 

Chimney inspections are important because you want to be able to monitor the accumulation of soot. Your wood-burning fireplaces could easily become a fire hazard if they are blocked, have inadequate ventilation, leak smoke, and have insufficient downdraught, draw and tar buildup. The professionals will want to confirm that the smoke is being removed from the house properly, and that no cracks have developed through time in the chimneys. Routine inspections will catch minor problems so that they can be corrected before they worsen. 

Install Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors

The chemical reactions associated with burning wood will cause the release of carbon monoxide, which does not have an odour. Carbon monoxide presence will quickly bind with particles in the blood to produce carboxyhemoglobin, which basically reduces the blood’s ability to carry oxygen throughout the entire body. Without oxygen, the body cannot function. According to Statistics Canada, carbon monoxide is responsible for 380 accidental deaths between 2000 and 2008. Carbon monoxide has been referred to as the “silent killer”. 

Carbon monoxide presence can be difficult to detect, especially since it has no odour. Due to this reason, it is crucial that carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are installed throughout the home to quickly detect leakages. Bill 18 Act basically requires most residential buildings to have carbon monoxide detectors installed, and you will want to make sure that the detectors installed in your home meet all of the expectations that are outlined in the bill.

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Have Fire Prevention Mechanisms In Place

Last but not least, it is crucial to have fire prevention mechanisms in place to prevent sparks from the combustion reaction from landing elsewhere. You want to keep a fire extinguisher handy at times, and to educate not only yourself, but also your entire family, on how to properly use the fire extinguisher. Generally speaking, a Class A fire extinguisher will be sufficient as it is used for ordinary, combustible materials, like paper and wood.

On top of that, it is crucial to set a reasonable boundary around the fireplace that is free from flammable materials. Making sure that nothing is placed in this boundary can be rather helpful. To prevent sparks from being able to enter this area, put up fireplace grates, and remember to always keep the screen closed when the fireplace is on. Remember to also never use a liquid accelerant, such as gasoline or lighter fuel, when trying to start a fire as the accelerant can quickly cause the fire to get out of hand. 


The allure of wood-burning fireplaces has encouraged many homeowners to stick to old traditions; however, it is crucial to keep in mind that wood-burning fireplaces pose more threat than ones that rely on gas. If you would like to install a wood-burning fireplace in your home, you should follow the above 3 safety commandments in order to prevent accidents and household fires, which can end up being fatal.

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