The fireplace hearth is generally built in houses to provide warmth as well as to impart a pleasant ambience to the room where it is installed. It can also be a constant source of fire hazard if proper care is not taken to clean and maintain it after installation. In fact, some safety precautions need to be taken even during its construction so that it does not pose any threat to life and property.
Certain initial precautions
Since the fireplace hearth dominates the construction of the fireplace, precautions which need to be taken during the construction of the same are
- Materials used for its construction should be completely fireproof and a fire extinguisher should always be kept within reach.
- The hearth should have an elevated base irrespective of whether ceramic, concrete or stone is being used for its construction.
- Restrictions and laws enforced by the local and regional authorities regarding the same should be strictly adhered to.
Keep the fireplace clean
A fireplace hearth is built so that it can spread heat and warmth when a fire burns in it. But for the proper functioning of this, it has to be cleaned regularly. Cleaning also prevents soot from clogging the chimney and poisoning the air in the room. In fact, a clean and well-maintained fireplace adds to the beauty and charm of the room whereas an unkempt one mars it completely.
For cleaning the fireplace hearth, the following things are needed
- Rubber gloves and safety goggles to protect your eyes and hands
- Dish detergent mixed with an equal quantity of salt in a bowl for application on the hearth
- A scrub brush to apply the detergent paste and a soft towel for drying the hearth
Detergent and salt are mixed with a little water to get a paste like mixture. This mixture is then applied on the hearth with a scrub brush. After allowing it to stand for some time, it is scrubbed away and the hearth is dried with the soft towel.
Some very important everyday precautions
It is very important to keep certain precautions in mind to ensure that pleasant memories keep building over a period of time with some of the best times being spent in front of the fireplace. Hence it is necessary to ensure that
- A safety guard needs to be installed to keep glowing embers and sparks at bay
- The remote control of the fireplace should always be kept away from children
- It is usually wise to ignite a small fire rather than have a roaring one. Inflammable materials should never be used to ignite the fire. Care must also be taken to ensure that all the flames are extinguished once the need for the fire is over.
- Inspect and clean the fireplace hearth and chimney on a regular basis during seasons when the fireplace is in operation. In seasons when it is not being used for a long time, inspections need to be carried out on a regular basis to ensure that it is free from debris like bird nests, twigs, dead leaves etc.
- Refrain from using the fireplace hearth as a dustbin when a fire is burning. Any sudden leaping flames can lead to danger.
- Always stay near the fireplace hearth once it has been lit. A burning fireplace left unattended is a sure recipe for disaster.