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Mistakes not to make with your fireplace

It is important to have your fireplace properly inspected and cleaned by a pro before lighting for the first time each year. This will help to deter any hazards that could start a fire in your home, such as chimney blockage, weather deterioration, or invasive animal nests. It is also a great time to ask questions about how to safely use your fireplace.

  • If your fireplace has a mantel, it is important to pay attention to its shape and size in proportion to the fireplace and the rest of the room. Avoid oversized mantels that can dwarf the fireplace itself, but also steer clear of going too small, or it will look like a strange afterthought.
  • Because most fireplaces were built when the house was, it may not match your personal style or the rest of your interior. If your fireplace looks a little dated, paint the mantle a neutral color to help it fade into the background—or jazz it up with fresh, modern colors to give it a cutting edge look.
  • Fireplaces are cozy and charming, but they also can be dangerous. Avoid placing furniture, rugs, or knickknacks too close to a working fireplace. Keep the hearth clear of decor, firewood, and other household odds and ends.
  • Keep your firebox properly maintained and clean. Don’t allow ash to accumulate, as it can diminish the air quality of your home. Sprinkle coffee grounds over the ashes before sweeping to reduce flyaways, and scrub the walls of the fireplace with hearth cleaner to reduce soot.
  • Mounting a flat screen TV over a fireplace is a hot decorating trend but it comes at a cost. Hanging a TV too high prevents comfortable viewing from the couch, placing strain on the neck and back muscles. And putting it above the fireplace could also void the warranty on these products, which can burn a hole in your wallet.
  • Carbon monoxide detectors are essential in any home, especially if you have a fireplace. These detectors help alert you of dangerous venting issues, or gas leaks. Install one detector in the same room as your fireplace, as well as one on every level of your house including the basement. Test the batteries monthly, and replace the detector every 5 to 10 years.

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