Winter Is Coming: Is Your Fireplace Ready?
HPBA Declares October National Fireplace Month, Releases New Trends Data and Urges Fireplace Safety
The days are becoming darker, colder and the sweaters thicker, cozier – inevitably winter is coming. With more time spent inside, families and friends naturally gravitate to the center and warmth of the home: the fireplace. To celebrate the home heating season and emphasize the importance of fireplace safety, the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association (HPBA) is declaring October National Fireplace Month.
A recent survey conducted by HPBA shows that more than half of all homeowners (57 percent) have some type of fireplace in their home. The survey also shows that in the winter, 38 percent of owners use their fireplace, freestanding stove, fireplace insert or other hearth product almost every day. About two-in-five fireplace owners (40 percent) and stove owners (43 percent) plan to purchase a new product in the next 12 months.
“Consumers should expect a number of exciting innovations this fall,” said Jack Goldman, HPBA President & CEO. “People want to lower their home heating bills, upgrade their living room or bedroom space, and set the mood for entertaining. The industry is responding to these demands with creative, new technologies to design products that go beyond the traditional idea of a fireplace. There is a perfect product for everyone and every living space.”
Fall and winter 2015 trends to look for include:
- Design Focus: Fireplaces are becoming the central design element for many different rooms in the home, and consumers are having them installed not only for comfort and warmth but also for aesthetic appeal and to create a social environment.
- Sleek Look: To achieve a modern feel, consumers are choosing fireplaces with more glass, a linear look and less metal. The traditional brick fireplace is not the only attractive option in today’s market.
- Cost-Control and Convenience: Consumers are purchasing products with simple, programmable wall thermostats, single-button control systems and wireless remote sensors. These features make heating more controllable, cost efficient and environmentally friendly by maintaining the desired temperature. Fireplace manufacturers heard the consumer’s desire for convenience and are responding accordingly.
- In Every Room: Homeowners are adding hearth products to their bedrooms and bathrooms to enhance the sophistication and relaxation of the space, and to the backyard to create a social “home-gating” experience. Technology advancements allow for flexible, low cost installation and a number of fuel options to suit every homeowner. Homeowners can do more with a fireplace than ever before in spaces beyond the family room.
As the seasons change, more people will not only shop for new products, but also will “fire up” their current fireplace for the first time since last season. “HPBA is declaring October National Fireplace Month,” Goldman continued, “to build awareness about the tremendous array and variety of fireplace products and to remind those who are ‘firing up’ their fireplaces to schedule regular service and perform annual maintenance. People should seek out their local specialty hearth retailer as a resource for new products and proper maintenance.”
Educating consumers about how to safely operate their fireplaces is one of HPBA’s top priorities. Minor issues such as cracks and faults can develop throughout the year that are invisible to the untrained eye, but can result in serious consequences.
A few important fireplace safety tips to remember as winter approaches:
- Have the chimney inspected annually, and cleaned as necessary, by a professional chimney sweep to ensure it’s clear of obstructions and creosote to prevent a chimney fire.
- Never burn garbage, rolled newspapers, charcoal or plastic in the fireplace.
- Clean out ashes from previous fires and open the damper.
- Make sure the area around the fireplace is clear of furniture, books, newspapers and other potentially flammable materials. Three feet away is a good rule.
- Gas Burning
- Have a technician check the gas lines, clean the burner and control compartment as well as check for condensation annually.
- If burning vent-free logs for more than an hour, crack a window open. If using vented logs, clamp your fireplace damper into the open position so it never closes.
- Be alert for unusual odors or flames, which are often a sign that the fireplace is not operating properly.
- Make family members and guests aware that the glass panel of a gas fireplace, stove or insert can be very hot. Installing a safety screen or safety barrier is recommended to reduce the risk of serious burns by preventing direct contact with hot glass.
 Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, “Hearth Ownership and Market Potential Study,” February 2015