Safe and Healthy Fireplaces

It’s frightening to me to know how many people are using wood and gas fireplace inserts in their homes with no idea of all the different ways they can affect indoor air quality, or how they may be risking their home and personal safety.

You simply will not find a better book for homeowners on the subject of fireplaces. Safe and Healthy Fireplaces was written by an expert in easy to understand language for homeowners who already own or are considering purchasing a fireplace.


Safe and Healthy Fireplaces

Did you know fireplace inserts can cause mold to grow in homes? And did you know they can cause furnaces and water heaters to introduce poisonous carbon monoxide gas into homes? Did you know fireplaces can reduce the oxygen in your home that you need to stay healthy? Did you know they can poison your air with carbon soot particles without you even realizing it? Do you know how to identify a pending fire hazard?

Fireplace inserts

If you own a gas fireplace inserts or wood-burning fireplaces or are considering purchasing one, this book will be one of the most important books you’ll ever read. The health and safety information in it is essential for people who use wood or gas fireplaces. You’ll have all your questions answered about:

  • Gas and wood fireplaces
  • Fireplace inserts
  • Fireplace screens and doors
  • Fireplace tools
  • Firewood
  • Chimney cleaning and repair
  • Fireplace smoke issues
  • Fireplace instructions and safety

The difference between a properly functioning fireplace and an unsafe or unhealthy fireplace is knowledge. This book is loaded with photographs from field investigations to help you understand important fire safety and air quality issues that can arise with both gas fireplace inserts and wood-burning fireplaces.

Within the pages, you’ll learn important instructions and precautions, as well as unbiased information about fireplaces and chimneys that many salespeople and contractors either don’t know or won’t tell you.

If you have a wood stove you will likely want to read the book How to Buy and Safely Use Woodstoves available here at


Would you like ongoing air quality tips…for free?

You can receive quick reads of helpful information simply by subscribing. It’s a great way to continue learning ways to improve the air quality in your home.


See what’s in Safe and Healthy Fireplaces:

Why trust the author? 8
Preface 9
Sharing this book 14
Fireplace problems and prevention 15
Gas fireplaces 16
Gas log insert conversion fireplaces 16
      Asbestos in gas fireplaces 19
      Log displacement and flame impingement 20
Prefabricated gas fireplaces 24
      Stand-alone and built-in models 25
      Wood to gas prefab conversion models 26
Break-in period and toxic fumes 27
Hidden defects, safety, and health concerns 30
      Gas lines that can explode 36
      Electrical defects 40
      Inaccessible installations 42
      Chimney flue reduction errors 44
Air leakage and consequences 46
      Sealing air leakage 57
Gas pilot light issues 58
      Pilot light energy loss 58
      Pilot light damage to fireplaces 59
Dampers deliberately left open 74
Gas fireplace inspection 79
Inspecting for attic mold and roof damage 80
Gas fireplace maintenance 84
Stains on glass doors 85
Wood-burning fireplaces 87
Prefabricated wood-burning fireplaces 87
Masonry wood-burning fireplaces 90
Wood-burning fireplace tips and tricks 96
      Wood choice 96
      Methods for starting a wood fire 98
      Fireplace tools 100
      Fireplace screens 104
      Glass doors 107
      Damper position 116
      Fireplace damper balloons 118
      Why, when, and how to remove ashes 119
      Creosote buildup in chimneys 124
Wood-burning fireplace inspection and maintenance 128
Clearances to combustibles 134
Attending a fire 140
Chimney concerns 141
      Outdoor chimney failure evidence 161
      Indoor chimney failure evidence 173
Vermin obstructions 187
Chimney flue covers 188
Spark-arresting screens 194
Abandoned chimneys 199
Unhealthy back-drafting conditions 204
      Carbon monoxide poisoning 219
      Soot inhalation and your health 220
      Hidden mold growth around fireplaces 222
Adjoined housing fire risk 227
Fireplaces as heat sources 228
Periodic homeowner inspections 229
Twelve cautions for gas and wood-burning fireplaces 233
Summary 236
Helping others 237


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