7 Mistakes Not to Make with Your Fireplace

When the weather outside is frightful, there is nothing more comforting than curing up beside a fireplace with a good book or a good friend. This is why it is important that this feature of your home be not only safe, but beautiful. Some common fireplace woes include maintenance issues that if left unattended can either burn a hole in your wallet or actually burn your house down. And because fireplaces are usually something that comes built with the house, you can inherit all sorts of design and safety problems that need addressing. Click through our gallery to shine a light on several common fireplace mistakes that you should avoid in your own home.

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  1. Safety First

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    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.

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  2. Mantels Matter

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    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.

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  3. Dated Designs

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    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.

    Zillow Digs home in Medina, WA

  4. Cut Down on Clutter

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    Sure, 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.

    Zillow Digs home in Mandeville, LA

  5. Ash Elimination

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    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.

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  6. Change the Channel

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    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.

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  7. Don’t Mess with Carbon Monoxide

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    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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