There aren’t many things better on a cold winter’s night than cozying up with a blanket in front of a fireplace. Whatever the weather is doing outside, you are protected and warm. However, no matter how cozy and magical a fireplace is, the reality is that they are typically open fires right in your home. When you think about a fireplace just as it is, an open fire that can spew sparks into the room, you may want to consider putting safety precautions in place to protect your apartment, your belongings, and anyone living there.

Greeley, Colorado is a beautiful place to live during the winter and the cold months are a great time to bring in wood and make a nice warm fire. With the weather getting colder, we love giving our residents the opportunity to use their fireplace. And at Gateway Place Apartments, our number one priority is the safety and comfort of our residents. We regularly inspect the fireplace, the chimneys, smoke alarms, and other essential components to ensure that they are completely functional and safe.

As you start using your fireplace these next few months, here are some safety tips you can follow:

Know and Use the Flue and Damper

The fireplace flue is a duct or pipe inside the fireplace that allows smoke to travel up and out the chimney instead of into your apartment. The damper is used to keep the opening to the flue closed when the fireplace is not in use. When the fire is in use, the damper needs to be open to prevent smoke from filling your apartment and will also keep cold air from flowing into your apartment. These are essential components of the fireplace that will make sure it’s working correctly and safely.

Use a Mesh Screen

In order to prevent sparks and other debris from flying into your apartment, a mesh screen should be put in front of the opening. Be sure that the screen is stable and won’t fall over and covers the fireplace opening from side to side and reaches up above the top of the opening. Sparks often extinguish quickly, but it’s always best to play it safe and keep them inside the fire where they belong.

Keep a Fire Extinguisher

The staff at Gateway Place Apartments hopes that you never actually need to use your fire extinguisher, but it is a safety precaution that you don’t want to be without. If you have never used a fire extinguisher, you simply need to pull the pin from the handle, aim the nozzle low to the ground, squeeze the handle gently, and sweep the extinguisher from side to side.

Clean the Ashes Out

If you use the fireplace regularly, ash from the wood will begin to build up. If the ashes aren’t cleaned out, it can cause your apartment to smell like ash and can cause a fire hazard when there is a fire. A build-up of ashes in the fireplace can simply create a messy situation, so it’s best to clean it out at least once a month, but it depends on how often you use the fireplace. Use a metal bucket and a small shovel and simply dispose of the ash in the trash. If you have questions about how to remove ash from your fireplace, contact the staff at Gateway Place Apartments.

Never Leave the Fire Unattended

A benefit of having a fireplace is being able to save on your heating bill, and so it can be tempted to leave the fire rumbling all night long. But if you’re going to be out of the room for longer than about 15 minutes, it’s safest to simply put the fire out. An unattended fire is putting your apartment, your belongings, and residents at risk.

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Keep Things Away From the Fire

A basket of blankets next to the fireplace is nice for decor, but you want to avoid putting anything flammable next to the fire. This includes clothing, blankets, pillows, and Thanksgiving or Christmas decorations that could hang over the opening. As a general rule, keep anything flammable around three feet away from the fire.

The weather in Greeley is definitely getting colder, so if you’ve started a fire or two in your fireplace, we hope you’re thoroughly enjoying it! If you have any questions about apartment fireplace safety, don’t hesitate to contact Gateway Place Apartments!