An outdoor fireplace offers a great place to relax, enjoy the scenery, and gather with family and friends. However, a flaming hot marshmallow or clumsy relative can quickly turn your fireplace fun into a safety issue. Fortunately, there are many steps you can take to ensure that your Wilmette, IL, outdoor fireplace can always be enjoyed safely and soundly. Follow these simple steps for outdoor fireplace safety and you will be sure to only have warm and fuzzy memories around your fire feature.
Firebox Size and Materials
Your landscape contractor will make sure your firebox is the right size, and is made out of the right materials. If you a box is too small, or made out of flimsy material, you would have difficulty controlling your fire. Don’t try to cram your firebox, or overstock it with wood; only add wood to your fire as it is needed.
Choosing the Right Location
When installing your outdoor fireplace, be sure that it is located far enough away from other structures and buildings. You want to maintain at least 10 feet of distance between your outdoor fireplace and your home, shed, or other structures. Also be sure to clear away overhanging tree branches, brush, or other items that may get in the way or catch fire.
Screens and Vents
Be sure to have your outdoor fireplace fitted with screens and smoke vents, or choose a fireplace model that already has them built in, to help create a safer, more relaxing environment. Screens will help to control popping embers from flying around and starting a fire, and vents will help direct smoke and embers up and away from those sitting next to the fire.
You don’t want to leave your fire unattended. Even if it is screened, an unattended fire creates the potential for a risky environment. You also do not want to leave rambunctious children or nosy pets unattended around your fireplace. In general, you will want to keep furniture, decorations, firewood, animals, and people at least 3 feet away from the open fire at all times to ensure a safe fireside experience.
Even if you take every precaution, fires can be unpredictable, and it is always a good idea to be ready to extinguish unwanted embers and flames. Keep buckets of water, sand, or a garden hose nearby to quickly diffuse any wayward fires, or keep a fire extinguisher nearby.
Keep It Clean
Regular maintenance and cleanliness is a must for the safety of your outdoor fireplace. Be sure to look for signs of rust if you have a metal fire box, and replace it if you see wear. Though it may be tempting, avoid burning untreated lumber or trash in your fireplace, as these items often tend to emit toxic fumes when burnt.
There is nothing that can ruin a fireside chat or cozy evening by the fireplace quicker than an emergency fire extinguishing situation. Be mindful of these crucial tips, practice common sense and fire safety at all times, and fully enjoy your outdoor fireplace as it is meant to be enjoyed—as a gathering space that promotes relaxation and fun.