The warmth, togetherness, and festivity that fall and winter usher tend to spill over into your home decorations. Decking out your space for different seasons and holidays can become a cherished tradition, and the fireplace, stove, and hearth often takes center stage because it’s a natural focal point – and because it plays a role in holiday lore!
While decorating the fireplace can bring extra joy to the season, it’s crucial that home safety remains an ultimate priority.
So… is it safe to decorate your fireplace or stove? Yes – as long as certain considerations remain at the forefront.
Questions? We’re here for you. Call or reach out online now.
How Far Should Decor Be From My Fireplace?
A good place to start in safely decorating your fireplace is knowing the three foot rule. All combustible decorations should be placed a minimum of three feet away from the fireplace or stove. This rule applies to objects of all kinds – furniture, rugs, curtains, baskets, and other decorative items.
What Can I Put On My Fireplace Mantel?
The mantel is an attractive option for decorating, but needs to be given special attention due to its proximity to the fireplace.
- Fire-safe items: Choose non-flammable or flame-resistant decorations for placing on the mantel, and make sure they’re stable or anchored firmly down. A decorative item that’s prone to tipping over can be problematic if it falls while the fire is lit.
- Stone, ceramic, metal, and glass items: These won’t burst into flame if they get too hot – but be mindful that their surface can get very hot to the touch.
- Candles (with caution): Candles require special attention. Wax candles can soften on a mantel, causing them to melt at an accelerated rate, and their open flames should be carefully attended to. Battery operated LED candles can mimic the glow of real candles without the fire risk. If you opt for real candles, make sure they’re securely anchored.
- Stockings (if you’re careful): Stockings qualify as decorations that dangle from the mantle. Does this mean this holiday favorite is a no-go? Not if you’re careful. Either remove stockings from the mantel before lighting fires, or find a similarly festive spot to hang them if moving stockings seems tiresome.
What to avoid?
- Greenery and garlands: Spooky spider webs, fall leaves, holiday fabrics, and draping evergreen branches? They may be festive, but they shouldn’t be dangling from the mantel. Below the mantel can become too hot for safety, and items that are draping are also at risk for falling.
- Wreaths and similar items: Wreaths and ornaments are seasonal staples. But consider hanging them on the wall instead of over the fireplace opening – especially if they’re heavy. Keep dry decorations like corn stalks or hay bales far away from the fireplace or stove.
- Interactive items: if you have any interactive decorations that children may enjoy playing with, consider keeping them opposite the fireplace or in another room.
How Far Should a Christmas Tree Be From the Fireplace or Stove?
Christmas trees are one of the most iconic holiday decorations. To safely enjoy your Christmas tree, be sure to maintain the three foot rule – keep the tree three feet away from the fireplace, stoves, and other heating sources.
In addition, make sure the tree is stable, and if you have a real tree keep it well watered all season. The dry heat in our homes dries live trees out fast, making them prime fuel for a fuel. A hydrated real tree or flame-resistant artificial tree will both be less combustible should an accident happen.
More Fireplace Decor Safety Tips
✓ Invest in a screen.
Fireplace screens can serve both decorative and safety functions. How so? They prevent sparks and embers from making an escape, while adding an aesthetic touch to your fireplace.
✓ Purchase smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Home safety must-haves also include smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, which serve to help you respond quickly in an emergency situation. Be sure that they’re in place with fresh batteries, and test them regularly. Keeping an ABC fire extinguisher near at hand and keeping your whole family well-versed in fire safety will also help ensure a safe holiday season.
✓ Use appropriate fireplace fuel.
Remember to fuel your fires properly. Whatever your fuel source is, other fuel types and non-fuel items should never make their way into your stove or firebox. Bits of packaging or discarded wrapping paper can contain toxins that can be released by burning, or may burn unpredictably.
✓ Book annual chimney inspections.
Be sure that you adhere to the recommended annual chimney inspection. Over time, combustible creosote can build up in your chimney flue, and wear and deterioration can make your chimney components less reliable and unsafe. A chimney that’s swept and in good working order will simply do its job better – venting smoke and gases safely away from your living space so you can enjoy your fireplace or wood stove with ease.
Keep Your Home Safer – Count On Us
The health and safety of your home and family is a top priority for us. That’s why our CSIA-certified technicians take great care with every job we take on. If you have questions about fireplace safety or are in need of an inspection or fireplace facelift to get your hearth holiday-ready, let us know! We’re happy to serve.