Safety tips for all hearth appliances

Hearth appliance refers to any combustion appliance including but not limited to; wood stoves, open fireplaces, prefabricated fireplaces, fireplace inserts, gas fireplaces, freestanding gas appliances, or pellet stoves.

Safe setup

  • Keep a fire extinguisher on hand and place smoke detectors throughout the house. Test the smoke detectors and batteries regularly. See that the extinguisher is in good working order and that all family members know how to operate it.
  • Obtain a building permit prior to installing or replacing your hearth appliance, as required by the laws in your area.
  • Advise your insurance company about the installation or replacement of your hearth appliance.
  • Have your hearth appliance installed out of the way of foot traffic and away from furniture and draperies.
  • To fully understand the necessary steps involved in proper operation, read the manufacturer’s instruction manual for your specific hearth product.
  • If your hearth appliance is being installed in a home during construction or renovations, do not operate it until the area is thoroughly cleaned; drywall dust and other contaminants may harm the fan motors and burners.

Using your hearth appliance

  • Do not store combustible materials, gasoline or other flammable liquids near your hearth appliance.
  • Never leave a child alone in a room with a hearth appliance. If your child is not in a playpen, an adjustable gate system that fits most hearth appliance areas can be installed which allows adult access to the hearth appliance but keeps kids outside in the safety zone. Alternatively the same kind of safety gate system can be used to cordon off the entire room to prevent your child wandering into the room alone.

Regular maintenance

  • Maintain your hearth appliance regularly in accordance with the manufacturers specifications, and industry best practices.

Supreme Astra 32TD Wood Fireplace

Montigo HLB34 Gas Fireplace

Gas Appliances

Each year, millions of people enjoy the warmth, comfort and utility of modern fireplaces. Today, many gas fireplaces, stoves and inserts have glass fronts to enhance the beauty of the fire. While gas fireplaces, stoves and inserts are a great asset to any home, glass fronts can become extremely hot during and even long after operation. Therefore, it’s important to remember, touching the hot glass front can lead to serious, irreversible burns. Below is information that will allow you to continue to enjoy the many benefits of your gas fireplace, stove or insert while providing an added level of safety against burns.

General safety tips

  • Installation and repair of a gas hearth appliance should be done by a licensed gas contractor.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions in the owner’s manual, or use the care guide for maintenance and use of your gas hearth appliance.
  • Have a licensed gas contractor clean and inspect your hearth appliance on a regular basis.
  • Check vent regularly, as recommended in the owners manual – keep the external vent clear of debris.
  • Wait for the appliance and glass to cool down before allowing anyone to get near it. The glass insert surrounding your natural gas hearth appliance can quickly heat up to temperatures higher than 200ºC. Once turned off, it takes 45 minutes for the glass to cool back down.
  • Be aware that metal surfaces, such as door frames and grilles, may also get hot.
  • Gas hearth appliances with glass doors should not be operated if the glass is cracked or broken.
  • Children and pets should be carefully supervised when they are in a room with a hearth appliance. 
  • Keep the remote control (if your appliance has one) out of the reach of children.
  • Install a switch lock to prevent children from turning on the appliance.

Tips on purchasing aftermarket safety products

  • If you know the manufacturer and model number of your appliance, contact the manufacturer first; they may have a safety device specific to your unit. Visit for manufacturer contact information.
  • Proper fitting of a safety device is important, so ask an expert. Speak with a hearth specialty retailer in your area for advice.
  • Use a device that is sturdy and stable so it cannot be unintentionally removed, pushed or pulled over by a child or pet.

Safety mandate for new glass front fireplaces

All gas-fired, certified fireplaces manufactured after January 1, 2015 will include a safety screen or protective barrier that must be installed. Rigorous testing will ensure these safety screens and barriers are effective in preventing serious, irreversible burns.

Safety products for existing gas hearth appliances

While safety tips can provide an extra margin of safety, there is no substitute for supervision and a physical barrier. Consumers with existing gas fireplaces, stoves or inserts should consider installing a protective screen or physical barrier to reduce the risk of serious burns by preventing direct contact with hot glass.

Safety products come in various forms, including:

  • Attachable safety screens (above) fasten to the front of the fireplace to create an air space between the hot glass and the screen. Aftermarket safety screens that attach to the fireplace, stove or insert could adversely affect the safe operation of your unit. Contact the safety screen manufacturer to verify that the safety screen is approved by the fireplace manufacturer for your appliance.
  • Free-standing safety gates (top right) are barriers set up to prevent access.
  • Free-standing fireplace screens (bottom right) are set back from the fireplace or stove front to prevent direct access.

Jøtul GI 450 DV II Katahdin Gas Insert

Valor L3 Gas Fireplace

Woodbridge Algonquin Outdoor Gas Fireplace

Wood Burning Appliances

Whether it’s the warm glow of the fire, the crackle of the wood or the deep penetrating warmth, burning wood has a way of making people feel relaxed and right at home. When heating with wood, there are three key elements to achieve optimal economy, environmental responsibility, and efficiency:

Maintain your fireplace, stove, or insert

  • Stock up the right fuel… seasoned wood, both hard and soft woods.
  • Inspect gaskets, door seals, and the chimney annually. Clean the chimney as necessary, by a professional chimney sweep to ensure it’s clear of obstructions and creosote.
  • Install a cap at the top of the chimney to avoid the possibility that debris or animals can block the chimney.
  • Install both a smoke and carbon monoxide detector. (Make sure the batteries work.)
  • Keep a fire extinguisher on hand.
  • Clear the area around the fireplace of furniture, books, newspaper, and other potentially flammable materials. (Three feet away is a good rule.)

Build a proper fire

  • Clean out ashes from previous fires and open the damper before starting a new fire.
  • Prepare plenty of kindling. For fireplaces, use grate and cover it with kindling or a manufactured firestarter.
  • Close the firescreen and keep glass doors open while operating a fireplace (as appropriate).
  • Utilize fireplace tools to tend the fire.
  • Burn only dry, seasoned wood in pieces that aren’t too big for your fireplace or stove.
  • Follow any specific manufacturer guidelines for your product.

Use common sense

  • Never use gasoline or any liquid accelerant to help start a fire.
  • Never leave a fire unattended.
  • Never overload the fireplace or stove to avoid burning wood or embers tumbling out.
  • Always store ashes in a non-combustible container with a tightly fitting lid and place it away from the house.
  • Never burn garbage, rolled newspaper, charcoal, plastic, or chemically-treated or painted wood in the fireplace. They all produce noxious fumes that are dangerous and highly polluting. Additionally, if you have a catalytic stove, the residue from burning certain plastics may ruin the catalytic converter.
  • Always make sure the fire is completely out before going to bed or leaving the house.
  • Always keep small children and pets away from the fireplace.
  • Never close the damper on your open fireplaces until the embers have completely stopped burning.

Supreme Duet Wood Fireplace

JA Roby Centauri Wood Cookstove

Renaissance Uptown 600 Wood Fireplace


Consumers’ love affair with grilling continues unabated, and for good reasons. They tell us they barbecue mainly because the food tastes good, but they cite other reasons too: it’s fun, it keeps the kitchen cool, it’s a great way to entertain at home… the list goes on. Following a few basic steps can help ensure safe, reliable operation of your outdoor cooking appliance, regardless of what type you use.

Recipe for safety: first, be smart and informed

The main “ingredient” for safety in outdoor cooking is common sense. Read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for assembling and using your grill or smoker, and call their “help line” numbers if you have a problem or a question.

Basic safety tips

  • Use grills bearing the mark of an independent testing laboratory.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding setup, clearance, safety and maintenance.
  • Use your barbecue grill outdoors, in an open area away from any enclosure or overhang – carbon monoxide can accumulate and cause fatalities.
  • Be sure all parts of your grill are firmly in place and that the grill is stable.
  • If you use electrically-powered accessories (eg., a rotisserie) be sure they are properly grounded in accordance with local codes. Buy a cord designed for outdoor use. Route the cord well away from the hot grill and away from walkways.
  • Use long-handled utensils to avoid burns and spatters.
  • Do not wear anything with hanging shirttails, frills or apron strings.
  • Use flame-retardant mitts when adjusting hot vents.
  • To extinguish flare-ups, spread out the coals with a long-handled utensil (if you can reach them easily), or adjust the controls to reduce the temperature. If you must douse the flames with a sprits of water, first remove the food from the grill. Always use an elbow-length, flame-retardant mitt when dealing with flare-ups.
  • Use baking soda to control a grease fire and have a fire extinguisher handy. If you do not have a commercial extinguisher, keep a bucket of sand or a garden hose nearby.
  • Never leave a hot grill unattended.
  • Keep children at least 3 feet away from your grill.
  • Do not allow any activities around the grill when it is in use or still hot. Always use the grill away from combustible surfaces, and never attempt to move a hot grill.
  • Prior to lighting a gas grill, be sure to open the lid to prevent a buildup of gas.
  • When cooking is completed, be sure to turn off the fuel supply and then turn the burners to “off”.
  • Check your grill regularly for signs of wear and tear, particularly for hose cracks and possible leaks; also keep burners clear of dirt and insects that can block hoses or venturi tubes.
  • Inspect and clean your grill each year, preferably prior to first use.

For gas grills

  • After barbecuing, make sure the barbecue and gas supply are turned off, the burner flames are out and the lid is closed.
  • To prevent excessive gas build-up, when using a match, always light the match before turning on the gas.
  • If the barbecue is equipped with an electronic igniter, follow the directions on the control panel.
  • Both propane and natural gas flames should be mostly blue with yellow tips. If the flame is mostly yellow, do not use the barbecue and contact a qualified gas fitter.
  • Prevent grease from dripping onto the hoses or cylinder; grease build-up is a fire hazard.
  • Always store your propane tanks outside and in an upright position.
  • Never use a liquid propane cylinder if it shows signs of dents, gouges, bulges, fire damage, corrosion, leakage, excessive rust or other forms of visual external damage. It may be hazardous and should be checked by a liquid propane supplier.


  • Clean the tubes underneath the burner – insects and debris can accumulate inside these tubes.
  • If your barbecue connection area has an “o” ring, check it every time you connect the cylinder replace missing, deformed, cracked or damaged “o” rings.
  • After connecting a propane cylinder, check hose integrity and hose connections to ensure there is no release of gas.

Checking for Gas Leaks

  • Use a solution of equal parts soap and water.
  • With the appliance turned off, brush the solution over all connections.
  • Open the cylinder valve and bubbles will form when there is a leak.
  • If you find a leak, close the cylinder valve and contact a certified gas fitter. After repairs are completed, repeat the leak test until there are no leaks.

Cylinder Safety

  • Never store a propane cylinder in a building or a garage.
  • Propane cylinders must be inspected and re-certified every 10 years. Check your propane cylinder for date of manufacture.
  • Never store extra propane cylinders under or near your barbeque. Excess heat may overpressure the cylinder and cause it to release propane from the cylinder relief valve.

For charcoal grills

  • Do not use a charcoal grill within 8 feet of walls, structures or buildings.

  • Never add charcoal starter fluid when coals or kindling have already been ignited.

  • Do not use on wooden decks, wooden furniture or other combustible surfaces.

  • Do not use in high winds.

  • Never use any flammable or combustible liquid other than charcoal starter fluid.

  • Always empty ash catcher and grill after each use once they have cooled.

Ambiance 500 Gas Grill by Napoleon

Hamrforge El Padre Fire Table, Raclette & Charcoal Grill

Savannah Big Green Egg Kamado Grill


If you use a wire brush to clean your grill, be aware: small, sharp bristles can break off as you’re cleaning and get stuck to your grill’s cooking surface. The next time you grill, those stray bristles may adhere to food and be accidentally ingested, causing major damage to your intestines or stomach. If you do opt to use a brush with bristles to clean your grill, please follow these safety tips.

Grill brush safety tips

  • In many ways, grill brushes are like toothbrushes. When you see the bristles beginning to flatten or lose their efficacy, it’s time to replace.
  • Apply the “tweezer test”: take a pair of tweezers, randomly select five to 10 bristles and gently pull – if any bristles come off, it’s time to replace.
  • We don’t recommend not leaving grill brushes exposed to the elements when not in use. The rain, sunlight, humidity, snow, etc., can age them prematurely.
  • Clean your brush regularly. Soak in soapy water (if desired, add olive oil to keep bristles supple) for 2 minutes, and place facedown or hang to dry properly.
  • Above all, treat your grill brush just as you would any part of your grill and grilling environment: Follow manufacturers’ instructions and continuously inspect before and after using.

Napoleon Natural Fiber Grill Brush

Safety Advisories

Nothing is more important to any manufacturer of heating appliances than the safety of their customers.
Please check this space often to ensure you are aware of any potential issues with your equipment.

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