Fireplace screens are one of the most important safety features you can add to your fireplace. Screens keep the flames and popping ash from escaping, while allowing the heat to pass unobstructed.
There are a few types of screens to consider, including three-panel, spark guard, door screens and curved screens.
Three-panel screens are the most popular. They feature one large panel that is centered directly in front of the fireplace. They also have two side panels that fold around to the left and right side edge of the fireplace, so no flames or popping ash can escape. Three-panel screens are stationary and do not open.
Door screens, also called two-panel screens, are gaining in popularity because they function like French doors. Both doors swing open in different directions, allowing you to choose the amount of open space in front of your fireplace.
Spark guards are made of one continuous screen that lays flat against the fireplace.
Curved screens are also one continuous screen, but instead of lying flat against the fireplace, these arch from one end of the fireplace to the other. They cover the fireplace opening, but there is an opening in what would be considered the roof or area on top of the screen, which allows more heat into the room.
A good tool set will come in handy when you are making fires regularly in your fireplace. Most tools sets include a poker, tongs, shovel, brush and tool stand.
- The poker helps move or adjust the wooden logs and stoke the fire.
- Tongs are useful for repositioning logs while burning or adding kindling.
- Shovels quickly and easily scoop up used firewood remnants and ash.
- Brushes have strong bristles to sweep ash and debris into a removal bucket.
- A heavy-duty stand helps keep your tools organized and within reach next to the fireplace.
Hearth rugs are designed to protect the flooring near your fireplace. Sparks and embers can jump from the fireplace and land nearby. A fire-resistant hearth rug can keep your floors and carpeting looking their best. The rug's design also works as a safety tool.
A hearth rug comes in three basic shapes: oval, half-round and rectangular. Half-round is the most traditional style, followed by rectangular. Both of these are popular choices because they have a flat edge that can be placed right against the fireplace. This design element offers better coverage close to the hot zone.
Hearth rugs are made of wool, fiberglass or synthetic. There are benefits and drawbacks to each.
Wool Hearth Rugs:
- Embers char rug, but do not catch.
- Damage is less visible than other materials.
- May be chemically treated to improve fire-resistance.
- Most expensive option.
- Needs periodic brushing to maintain looks.
Fiberglass Hearth Rugs:
- Embers burn out rather than catch.
- Not chemically treated.
- Vinyl backed and prevents slips.
- Limited colors and patterns.
Synthetic Hearth Rugs:
- Embers won’t catch.
- Fibers will melt or char (damage to the rug will be visible).
- Least expensive option.
- More colors and patterns available.
Some fireplace accessories will help you care for and maintain your fireplace. Others help generate more heat. A good set of accessories can make it easier to use your fireplace during the colder months of the year.
- Fire extinguishers help protect your home and family in case flames escape the fireplace.
- Organize your logs in a convenient location using a log rack. A rack also holds the logs off the ground. This keeps away bugs and lets the wood dry out more effectively.
- Grates secure wood-burning logs inside the fireplace so they don’t fall and roll into your living space. Andirons also serve the same purpose with a more decorative flair.
- Heating inserts can be wood-burning, pellet-burning, biomass (corn, soybeans, cherry or olive pits) fuel-burning or electric. They enable greater heat output with the use of a blower.
- Gas log sets offer the look of real logs, but rest stationary in gas-burning fireplaces. The gas lines run into the logs and enable the flames to rise up between the stationary logs.
- Mantels can be added to most fireplaces and are useful for housing flat-panel TVs, photographs, art and other decor.
The right fireplace tools and accessories will make your fireplace easier and safer to use. There are a wide range of designs to make sure that the tools beautify the area while they protect it.
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