When you use your fireplace, protect your home from sparks by using a fire screen made of sturdy metal or heat-tempered glass. Be sure that dampers are in working order and never leave fires unattended – especially in an area used by children or pets.
Have your chimney inspected by a professional prior to the start of every heating season and cleaned if necessary. Creosote, a chemical substance that forms when wood burns, builds up in chimneys and can cause a chimney fire if not properly cleaned.
Remember to burn only seasoned wood in your fireplace – never rubbish, paper or pine boughs – which can float out the chimney and ignite your roof or a neighboring home. Never use flammable liquids in a fireplace.
If you are purchasing a factory-built fireplace, select one listed by a testing laboratory, and have it installed according to local codes.