With only a month and a half of summer left, families are soaking up every last minute outdoors. But before you blink, it will be fall and you’ll start to use your fireplace more often. If you have children, now’s the perfect time to talk with them about fireplace safety.
Today’s gas-burning fireplace is much safer than a traditional wood-burning unit – there’s no open flame, there’s no smoke, and it’s no trouble to stop the fire with a simple flip of a switch. But there are still a few safety precautions that you and your family should take.
Whereas a wood-burning fireplace is open, making the fire accessible to children and pets, gas fireplaces are closed systems with a layer of glass protecting you from the flames. Keep in mind that the glass and the metal around your fireplace can get hot to the touch, and you should never touch the hot glass while it’s running.
All new Mendota Hearth products come standard with a mesh safety screen to prevent you from coming into direct contact with the glass. Don’t worry – the screen isn’t noticeable, and your family can still get the same uninterrupted view of your fire. It’s just another precaution to allow you to rest easy while you enjoy your fireplace.
But remember, if you’re operating an older model, be sure to take the same precautions you would with any other fireplace, avoiding contact with hot surfaces.
Keep Your Mantle Clear of Hanging Decorations
Decorating your mantle is a fun way to embrace the change of seasons or celebrate an upcoming holiday. Take a look on Pinterest and you’ll find hundreds of ways to deck out your mantle – but not all of them are safe options if you plan to use your gas fireplace. Pendants, streamers and hanging decorations pose a fire hazard and should never be draped from your mantle. Likewise, you should never keep furniture or accessories like pillows directly in front of your fireplace.
Not all gas fireplaces are made equally. While Mendota makes only vented gas fireplace products, other manufacturers continue to produce ventless gas fireplaces, which send unburned combustion products directly into your living space. Even though California has completely banned the sale of ventless gas fireplaces, in the rest of the United States, they are still widely available to consumers.
If you’ve moved into a new home and aren’t sure if your fireplace is vented or not, have your authorized technician take a look during your annual inspection. If you plan to use your fireplace, consider replacing your ventless model with an efficient direct vent system.