- A fireplace can cause carbon monoxide to build up in the home. This can result when the flue or chimney is blocked by debris or has cracks, causing inadequate venting. Smoke inhalation also can result. Seasonal cleaning and inspection prevents this problem.
- The buildup of creosote, a byproduct of burning wood, can cause chimney fires. Have the chimney cleaned to prevent this problem. Additionally, burn hardwoods such as oak or maple, rather than softwoods like pine or spruce, to lessen the buildup of creosote.
- When people don't close the screen or the glass enclosure in front of the fireplace, sparks and embers can land on the floor, or burning logs can roll out. Either could cause a fire in the room, which can spread quickly.
- Certain substances should not be put into the fireplace, including treated wood, which can cause toxic fumes, and charcoal, which can create carbon monoxide. Never use lighter fluid or gasoline in a fireplace, as these substances can explode.
- Make sure children and pets do not get too close to a fireplace when it's in use. Additionally, glass doors become extremely hot, and they take a long time to cool down after the fire is out, so be cautious in touching the doors.