Outdoor fireplaces are an incredible addition to an outdoor living space. There is nothing more relaxing than sitting in a warm environment at night enjoying the great outdoors with your friends and family. Despite this, outdoor fireplaces can pose their own danger to your loved ones if not handled with care. This is why it is very important for you and your family to understand how to be safe with outdoor fireplaces. This article will offer tips on how you can stay safe while enjoying your outdoor fireplace.
Dangers of Outdoor Fireplaces
Outdoor fireplaces have grown to become popular over the years. Just like the fireplace installed indoors, an outdoor fireplace includes a chimney and is surrounded by stones and bricks. Most outdoor fireplaces are built against or inside a wall. The element of danger exists with all kinds of fireplaces. However, the danger is greater with outdoor ones, because factors like wind can accelerate the whole problem in case of a fire.
How to Stay Safe with Outdoor Fireplaces
The first thing you have to take into consideration before building outdoor fireplaces is the site where you are going to install it. You need to ensure that the ground is level. In addition to this, it should be installed about 15 feet away from surrounding plants, buildings, and any other thing that might catch fire. Depending on your state, you might be required to check with the authorities whether you have observed the distance required by law. It is good to note that you should never operate your fireplace from a building overhang or in an enclosed space. You need to use special caution with overhanging trees, as they can ignite easily from wood sparks. In addition to this, you should surround your fireplace with non-combustible materials like sand, brick, or stone to minimize any danger.
If you operate a wood-stoked fireplace, you need to understand that safety starts with fuel. Therefore, use wood that has been seasoned for over three months. We do not recommend that you use construction materials like composite woods or plywood, as they can release toxic fumes. Softwoods such as birch and pine produce more sparks and crackles compared to seasoned hardwoods, like hickory and oak. For wood-burning fireplaces, you should cut the length of the logs less than three-quarters the diameter of the fireplace. You should be very careful with using gasoline or lighter fluid to start a fire in an outdoor fireplace.
Selecting the Safest Outdoor Fireplace
Fireplace safety starts with choosing the safest model. Whether you want to replace your existing fireplace or purchase a new one, you need to consider several factors to ensure maximum safety. First, the size of the fireplace must be large enough to ensure no overhang. If you will be moving your fireplace, select one that is lightweight, so you are able to move it around without tipping over. When it comes to thickness, you should avoid those fireplaces made of thin metal, as they can wear out very quickly. Furthermore, if you will be buying a propane or gas fireplace, consider looking out for proper venting, and easy-to-access shutoff valves. Additionally, you should choose a fireplace, which comes with screens, smoke vents, and mesh protection.
Extra Outdoor Fireplace Tips You need to Know
It is important to take care of your fireplace to prevent damage, fire, and other issues. One thing you should never do is leaving your fire unattended, regardless of whether there is a screen in place. If you do not have a place to position your fireplace, you should consider using concrete, brick, or stone. You should never have your fireplace on a bare wood deck. Moreover, you should never burn plastic, pressure-treated lumber, or trash in your fireplace. If your fireplace uses propane or gas, you should ensure plenty of venting and air, even while using it in the outdoors. You should also maintain your fireplace by cleaning it regularly. To prevent any damage in case of a fire, you should have a bucket of water ready, or a working hose to put out the fire. Lastly, you should replace your existing fireplace in case it starts showing signs of rusting and wear.
An outdoor fireplace provides a great focal point of your patio or backyard. Nevertheless, this feature can be a potential safety hazard. However, this does not have to be the case because as long as you implement the aforementioned tips, you should be able to make your fireplace not only safer, but also more enjoyable.