While fireplaces can make any room feel cozy and inviting during the winter season, they can also be hazardous if you don’t put them out correctly.
In this article, I cover some key information about how to manage fires in fireplaces. This includes how to put out a fire in a fireplace safely and some important safety tips that you should know and avoid to keep you and your family safe.
Keep reading to find out more.
Water vs. baking soda when putting out a fireplace fire
Although you can theoretically put out a fireplace fire with water, it’s not recommended. Not only does it take a lot of water to put the fire out completely, but adding water will also create a lot of smoke that will fill the room! Trying to put out a fire in the fireplace in the same way as you would an outdoor fire might cause the opposite effect and actually keep the fire going.
Baking soda, on the other hand, contains sodium bicarbonate. This is an ingredient that is also found in some fire extinguishers. When baking soda is heated, it produces carbon dioxide, which subsequently smothers the fire so that it doesn’t restart. In fact, baking soda is also an effective option to put out grease fires as well.
A guide on how to put out a fire in a fireplace safely
- Start by using a fireplace poker to spread out the remaining embers in the fire. Try to create a flat, even layer that you can easily pour the baking soda over the fireplace thoroughly.
- Next, you’ll need to scoop up some ash with a metal shovel and place it over the embers to smother the fire. Continue doing this until all of the flames are extinguished.
- Now it’s time to apply baking soda. You can use any shop-bought baking soda, but make sure that you use enough to create a thin layer of baking soda over the embers and firewood.
- Next, you need to allow the ashes time to cool off. This can take a few hours. If you’re putting a fireplace out before bed, leave them in the fireplace overnight. This gives the ashes more time to cool down. Provided that the fire is entirely out, it’s safe to leave the ashes to cool.
- Once the ashes are cool, scoop them up with your metal shovel into a metal container.
- Lastly, you need to move the container and store it outside your home away from anything flammable.
Alongside making sure that the fireplace fire is totally extinguished, there are some crucial safety tips that you should be aware of when lighting fires indoors.
Get a proper inspection before lighting a fire
Before you light your fireplace for the first time in the winter season, you should make sure to get your chimney and fireplace inspected. This will help you establish whether everything is safe, and will help to prevent potential chimney fires from occurring.
Have a fire extinguisher nearby
You should always keep a fire extinguisher near to your fireplace so that you can prevent an unintentional fire from getting larger. In the case of an emergency, a fire extinguisher is always important to have close by so you can put out any fire before the situation escalates.
Clean out the remaining ashes from the fireplace after they’ve cooled
Ashes remain hot for hours after the fire has been put out. You should never move hot ashes. Leave them overnight to cool down fully before attempting to clean them up to make sure that the fireplace is prepped for your next fire.
Only burn dry wood intended as firewood
You should only burn dry wood on your fire. Using wood that is damp or that you’ve collected from outside can create extra smoke in your home which will lead to you having a smokey room!
Things to avoid
Don’t leave your lit fireplace unattended
Although you can get fireguards to go over your fireplace, you shouldn’t leave a fireplace unattended. Sparks and ashes can fly out of the fire, and when sparks fall onto nearby carpet they can potentially start a fire outside the fireplace that can escalate quickly.
Never leave flammable items near your fireplace
Make sure that you remove any decorations on your mantle before you light the fire in your fireplace to prevent one of your decorations from catching on fire. Although stockings and garlands look festive during the holiday season, they can easily catch fire from one spark.
Don’t burn pine needles or other foliage
It’s important that you only burn firewood in your fireplace. It’s not a bonfire, and burning anything other than firewood can produce toxic fumes that are dangerous to breathe inside your home.
Avoid using a vacuum to clean up the ashes
It is crucial that you clean up the ashes with a metal shovel, as opposed to a vacuum cleaner. This is because it can be hard to tell if there’s a live spark in the ashes and a vacuum can add air and reignite the spark. To avoid accidents from occurring, always use the appropriate equipment to shovel ash.
Never allow your fireplace to burn for extended periods of time
Leaving a fireplace lit overnight or for several hours can damage your fireplace and increase the risk of a house fire. It’s crucial that once you’re done enjoying the fire in your fireplace, but the fire out in a safe manner.
When it comes to lighting fires in your fireplace, fire safety is crucial. Always take the proper steps to put out a fire safely and wait patiently until the ashes have cooled before you clear the fireplace.
Additionally, you will need to keep the ash in a metal container outside of your house and away from anything flammable. Make sure that you follow these simple safety tips when lighting a fire to keep you and your family safe.