Part of the fun of the holiday season is the holiday decorating! Some families begin in mid-November, just in time for Thanksgiving. Others wait until closer to Christmas to begin decorating.
When you have a fireplace, it can be part of your holiday decorations. Many believe you can’t decorate the fireplace for fear of fire, but this isn’t true. When you have the okay from a certified chimney sweep, you can rest assured that it’s safe to decorate the fireplace and chimney however you’d like.
Is it Safe?
During a routine chimney sweep or inspection a chimney and fireplace expert can check your system in order to determine if it’s safe for decorating. This mostly applies to the chimney above the mantle, and depends largely upon the original construction of the chimney. If the chimney is constructed of refractory materials, and has a proper chimney liner you can decorate the chimney without fear of overheating.
Depending on the type of mantel you have you can place many decorations on top of the mantel. However, depending on the height of the mantel, it might not be safe to hang decorations from the mantel. For instance, as a general rule stockings hanging from the mantel should be removed before the fireplace is lit. However, decorations such as garland can be attached to the mantel out of the reach of the fire’s heat. However any decorations on the mantel should be attached securely to prevent it from falling into or near the fire and igniting. Many homeowners use wires, nails, staples, or screws to attach decorations to the mantel, but this can cause damage to the finish. Instead, you can install hooks to the mantel to make decorating safe and easy. You can discuss this with your chimney sweep when the hearth is being installed, cleaned, or inspected.
Can you decorate the fireplace? The short answer is yes. Many families enjoy having photos taken in front of the fireplace and decorate around the fireplace just as well as the mantel. If you decorate near the fireplace it’s important that all decorations are securely positioned so that if they fall they aren’t in danger of igniting.
If you celebrate with a Christmas tree, it’s best to position it across the room from the fireplace so that if it falls it does not land in or near the fireplace opening. Live-cut trees can become a serious fire hazard if they are placed near an open flame. Even a jumping spark can ignite a dried Christmas tree, and the decorations only add to the fire risk.
The Exterior Chimney
As a rule it’s best to leave the exterior chimney undecorated. The chimney’s opening is where heat, vapors, and sometimes sparks are released. Putting any type of decoration on or near the chimney’s opening puts your home at risk of fire. If you like exterior decorations and would like a chimney decoration there are many fake rooftop chimney decorations on the market.
When the holidays roll around it’s one of the only times that some families really enjoy decorating. At New Buck Chimney Services, we want our customers to enjoy all aspects of the holidays, but our first priority is your safety. Contact New Buck Chimney today and learn about your safest fireplace.