The idea of leaving your fireplace burning overnight is tempting because it can help you stay warm throughout the night. Aside from this, some fireplaces can keep burning indefinitely without issues. But does it mean that it’s safe for you to leave a fireplace burning overnight?
You should never leave a fireplace burning overnight, regardless of the source. Before you go to sleep, be sure to put out the fire and let the materials cool down. Unattended fire is a hazard, and even the slightest gust of wind can reignite it or blow embers to a nearby flammable material.
Leaving the fireplace burning overnight has some valid points, but any unattended fire is a health hazard and could even be life-threatening. We’ll talk more about it in great detail, and we’ll even provide you with alternatives that you can use to keep yourself warm throughout the night.
Sleeping With the Fireplace On
If you have a fireplace, it can be tempting to leave it burning overnight so that you don’t freeze throughout the night, and you’ll wake up to a warm home. But we’ll tell you right now that it’s never a good idea to leave your fireplace burning overnight or unattended, even for an hour.
Although it might seem that leaving the fireplace burning overnight will help you sleep better and make you a bit more comfortable, it doesn’t really help. In fact, there are even more reasons — health hazards or life-threatening — why homeowners shouldn’t leave their fireplaces burning overnight.
Before we start discussing why you shouldn’t, let’s talk about some of the reasons why homeowners insist on doing it.
The first is that you’re probably using a wood-burning fireplace, and it’s not easy to put it out. Add the incentive to leave it burning because it makes you feel warm. Both of these make it tempting just to leave it and let the wood burn entirely throughout the night. If you’re using a gas-burning fireplace, it’ll be easier to put it out, but some people may not want to do so because of the comfortable heat that it produces.
However, if these are the only reasons why you’d want to keep a fireplace burning overnight, there are even more significant reasons why you shouldn’t. Also, some alternatives will help you get the same warmth and ease of use, but we’ll talk about these later.
For now, let’s talk about the reasons why you shouldn’t leave a fireplace burning.
Why You Should Never Leave a Fireplace Burning Overnight
The ones we’ll discuss here aren’t the only reasons you shouldn’t leave a fireplace burning overnight. However, we believe that these are the most significant ones because these aren’t just health hazards but could potentially be life-threatening.
If you’re still thinking about all the “benefits” that you can get from leaving your fireplace burning, this section will provide you with even more compelling reasons why you shouldn’t.
Any Unattend Fire Is a Hazard
Any open flame, large or small, is dangerous. Whether it’s a pellet stove or a few logs in the fireplace, any flame is more dangerous when left unattended. You shouldn’t leave any fire alone, regardless of the setup you have or the source. Even fireplaces with doors and those that can continuously burn for days shouldn’t be left unattended.
There are too many things that can go awry with an unattended fire, but the most significant is that even the slightest gust of wind can blow hot embers to any flammable material. Remember, even after you’ve put out the fire, the materials are still very hot, and it can reignite when it has the right conditions.
If you’re using a wood-burning fireplace, you should stop adding more wood at least 2 to 3 hours before you go to sleep. If you’re using a gas-burning fireplace, ensure that everything has cooled down before leaving. Some may say that gas-burning fireplaces won’t reignite because it no longer has a source, but embers can easily start the fire when it touches a flammable material.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Another reason why you shouldn’t leave your fireplace burning overnight is because of carbon monoxide. A fireplace is one of the most common carbon monoxide sources inside our homes. Even with a CO detector, it could still be life-threatening because sleeping while the fireplace is burning beats the purpose of early CO detection.
Did you know that it doesn’t matter how much carbon monoxide a person inhales because the body reacts to it differently? Leaving a fireplace burning overnight leaves everyone in your house vulnerable to carbon monoxide poisoning.
Fireplaces Aren’t Suitable as a Primary Heat Source
The last and probably, the biggest eye-opener for many homeowners is that fireplaces aren’t the most efficient way to keep your house warm. We feel warm when standing or sitting close to a fireplace — it makes us feel comfortable. But as soon as you put it out, we can already feel cold, and other parts of your house may not even feel warm at all.
The reason is that fireplaces are radiant heaters — they make us feel warm because of the radiation they produce, not because of the warm air.
Fireplaces only complement the main heat source you have in your house; they’re not effective and efficient in keeping you warm throughout the night unless you’re sleeping close to it, making it even more dangerous.
How Long Can You Keep a Fireplace Burning?
A wood-burning fireplace can help keep you warm as long as you have wood to burn. Gas-burning fireplaces are slightly different because some can burn continuously for days, while others are only good for 3 to 4 hours. It depends on the fireplace you have, but if you have it professionally installed, you can keep it burning continuously as long as you don’t leave it unattended.
Alternative Ways To Stay Warm Overnight
Now, going back to why some homeowners want to leave their fireplaces burning overnight, let’s talk about viable alternatives that are safer but will still provide you with the same comfortable warmth.
Despite its name, an electric fireplace doesn’t use fire to warm you up. It takes up cold air, then uses its electric coil to heat it before pushing it back into the room with a fan. You can even find some with built-in displays to create an impression of logs and flame. It’s completely safe to leave these unattended and doesn’t need ventilation to work; you don’t have to worry about CO poisoning or fire.
Using an electric fireplace instead of gas- or wood-burning fireplaces is an excellent alternative because it takes out all the risks associated with an unattended fire and still provides you with the same comfortable warmth.
If you want to stay warm throughout the night, you can also use an electric blanket. It’s a good alternative because it doesn’t affect anyone near you and you can also turn it on and off easily. The only problem when using electric blankets is that they can get too hot quickly and may even prevent you from getting a good night’s sleep.
It also doesn’t work like traditional blankets that you can use to wrap yourself with while eating or drinking. Although it helps keep you warm, spilling any liquid on its surface may cause an electric shock or fire.
Stock Up on Good Blankets
If all of these aren’t viable alternatives for you, then you can also try the traditional way of staying warm — stocking up on good blankets. Our bodies naturally produce heat, and good blankets can trap it inside, creating a comfortable temperature for you.
For me, this is the safest and most practical way to keep yourself warm throughout the night, and you can easily layer up if you feel like one isn’t enough. There are no maintenance costs, risks, or anything that you have to be careful of.
Many fireplaces can keep burning for days without issues, but it doesn’t mean that you can leave them overnight. The problem isn’t with the fireplace but with unattended fire that can be a hazard. Many things could go wrong if you leave a fireplace burning overnight, and the benefits you can get from it aren’t even worth the risk.
There are more viable alternatives to keeping yourself warm throughout the night aside from leaving the fireplace burning. It would be best to try these out because they’re safer and more effective in providing you with a good night’s sleep.
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