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With Christmas now less than a month away, there’s a particular song that automatically comes to mind: “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas”. When thinking of holiday-based songs, you may also immediately recall “Winter Wonderland”, “Jingle Bells”, “Silent Night”, “Frosty The Snowman” and “Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire”. Who would ever have thought that the last one was actually a health hazard?

If you have a fireplace, you may already be making use of it. A popular holiday tradition, lighting up the fireplace keeps the home warm and conjures up memories of past holiday celebrations. However, your fireplace is a danger. There’s no simpler way to put it. You may want to remove the old pastime of lighting it up from your holiday activities.

Fireplaces can cause house fires.

This is an obvious point, isn’t it? There’s no more common cause of house fires than lighting the fire yourself. This isn’t to be facetious. It’s important to remember that there is always the potential for a spark to fly out of your fireplace and into your living room. It’s vitally important to keep any and all flammable materials as far away from the fireplace as possible. As well, it’s wise to keep children good distances from this danger.

It’s possible for the fireplace to spark, says StreetDirectory.com, “which can cause a fire in the home itself. Keeping the glass doors or screen in place over the fireplace will prevent such sparks from escaping, making it safer to burn in your home. Keep in mind that you should be careful when adding wood or stirring the fire, and that you should be prepared to extinguish any sparks that shoot from the fireplace. “

Fireplaces can trigger respiratory issues.

If you’re an individual who has breathing issues, the last thing you’ll want to do, this holiday season, is add smoke to the air you breathe in your home. The smoke emitted from fireplaces is known to trigger asthma and COPD symptoms. On TheHealthy.com, Lisa Milbrand explains that both conditions can be worsened by the toxic effects of lighting the fireplace.

“People with asthma always need to be on the lookout for surprising triggers for an asthma attack,” she writes. “The particulates in the air from burning wood could exacerbate breathing difficulties associated with asthma…People with chronic respiratory conditions like COPD—these are the COPD symptoms you should never ignore—could be putting themselves at risk by regularly using a fireplace.”

Fireplaces emit carbon monoxide.

“You may not realize it, but fireplaces can be a big source of carbon monoxide danger,” warns StreetDirectory.com, “It is best to talk to a fire professional to find out how to prevent carbon monoxide from building up in your home, but one good way is to ensure that the flue is open and the fireplace is venting normally. Carbon monoxide is an odourless, colorless gas that can cause carbon monoxide poisoning, which is deadly.”

Preventing carbon monoxide poisoning is of major importance for all Canadians. Getting a CO detector should definitely be on your holiday wish list if you don’t have one already. At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we offer Air Quality Services that detect indoor air quality problems including CO. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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