How important is Outdoor Fireplace Care?
In designing a backyard living space, one amenity that’s become more popular in recent times is the outdoor fireplace. A wide range of styles, sizes and materials are available to perfectly accent any backyard area. Fireplaces have plenty of eye-appeal, and even when built outside they produce warmth to increase your comfort on chilly evenings.
That’s all you need to know about outdoor fireplaces, right? Wrong.
Any appliance that involves live flames needs an appropriate amount of care and maintenance. It’s important to make sure an outdoor fireplace, fire pit or chiminea is in good working order, but most important is safety. Let’s look at some details.
Safety first with outdoor fireplaces
Any time you burn a fire, you must think safety first – not only for the people in proximity to the fire but also for homes and vegetation in the area. Here are some safety tips for all types of outdoor fire-generating appliances.
- Never leave a burning fire unattended. The spread of fire can happen faster than you think.
- Avoid using logs that are chemically treated, because during a burn they emit potentially harmful toxins into the air. Don’t burn wood that has been painted, glued or stained. Stick with seasoned (dry) wood in its natural state.
- Never use an accelerant to start a fire. Dangerous accelerants include gasoline, lighter fluid, kerosene and other flammable compounds. Also – do not keep or store these products anywhere near the fire-burning appliance.
Some specific care and maintenance tips
- Fireplaces, whether indoors or outdoors, require regular maintenance. This means cleaning and inspection of the chimney and firebox by a trained service provider. Burning wood inside a fireplace can create creosote deposits in the chimney, which can lead to a fire.
- Enlist the services of a good chimney sweep to inspect the chimney and clean out any obstructive twigs, leaves, birds nests and other debris that can be ignited.
- A chiminea is similar in function to an indoor stand-alone stove. When used outside, never place the unit close to living structures (i.e., house) or any flammable objects like fences or shrubbery. Avoid moving a chiminea before the fire in it is completely extinguished.
- When using a fire pit, keep in mind that extended burning times can cause the base of the unit to deteriorate. To keep sparks and embers from escaping the pit and blowing around the yard, many homeowners cover the fire with a safety screen. When it’s time to leave the fire pit area, it’s a good idea to cover the unit with a solid cover, just as a precaution.
With any fire-burning appliance, safety is paramount. This is particularly true with outdoor fireplaces, fire pits and chimineas, which can create serious fire hazards if not properly cared for and maintained. Use these tips to make your outdoor living area safer and more comfortable for everyone.
United Fireplace & Stove, with member stores across North America, is a leading supplier of hearth-related products from fireplaces and stoves to inserts, screens, doors and other accessories. To find a UFS member store near you, use our handy store locater.