Nothing is quite as cozy as curling up in front of a crackling fire when it’s cold and blustery outside. Wood and gas fireplaces are popular features in home purchasing and are often on a homeowner’s wish list. With a few easy common sense tips, you can enjoy your fireplace and stay safe at the same time.

• Although it’s tempting to dispose of paper products, such as newspaper or gift wrapping, in the fire, paper burns very quickly and can push the heat limits of your fireplace. It’s best to save these items for the blue bin and use only seasoned, dried wood in your fireplace. Also avoid any pressure-treated wood—burning this wood can release toxic fumes into your home.

• Keep all flammable items far away – at least a metre – from your fireplace while you have a fire burning. (In fact, keep flammables away from all open flames, like candles, and away from portable heaters too!)

• Keep a sturdy screen or consider a glass insert for your fireplace to protect your family and home from sparks.

• Keep your fireplace and chimney clean. Sweep away ashes after each use and place them in a fireproof container. Have your chimney cleaned and inspected each year too.

With these easy measures, you can cozy up to a fire, confident that you have kept your home and family safe and warm.