Safe and Healthy Fireplaces

It’s frightening to me to have witnessed during my inspections how many people are using wood and gas fireplace inserts in their homes unaware that they are risking their homes and possibly their lives due to unknown defects or misuse.

As an indoor environmental investigator who specializes in discovering the causes of symptoms and illnesses, I am equally concerned about the lack of knowledge regarding the different ways gas and wood fireplaces can affect indoor air quality.

This book contains many investigation photos with easy-to-understand explanations that will greatly benefit anyone who already owns or is considering purchasing a fireplace. See the table of contents below.



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


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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.


Table of Contents

Fireplace problems and prevention
Gas log insert conversion fireplaces
Asbestos in gas fireplaces
Log displacement and flame impingement
Prefabricated gas fireplaces
Stand-alone and built-in models
Wood to gas prefab conversion models
Break-in period and toxic fumes
Hidden defects, safety, and health concerns
Gas lines that can explode
Electrical defects
Inaccessible installations
Chimney flue reduction errors
Air leakage and consequences
Gas pilot light issues
Pilot light energy loss
Pilot light damage to fireplaces
Dampers deliberately left open
Gas fireplace inspection
Gas fireplace maintenance
Stains on glass doors
Prefabricated wood-burning fireplaces
Masonry wood-burning fireplaces
Wood-burning fireplace tips and tricks
Wood choice
Methods for starting a wood fire
Fireplace tools
Fireplace screens
Glass doors
Damper position
Fireplace damper balloons
Why, when, and how to remove ashes
Creosote buildup in chimneys
Wood-burning fireplace inspection and maintenance
Clearances to combustibles
Attending a fire
Chimney concerns
Outdoor chimney failure evidence
Indoor chimney failure evidence
Vermin obstructions
Chimney flue covers
Spark-arresting screens
Abandoned chimneys
Unhealthy back-drafting conditions
Carbon monoxide poisoning
Soot inhalation and your health
Hidden mold growth around fireplaces
Adjoined housing fire risk
Fireplaces as heat sources
Periodic homeowner inspections
Twelve cautions for gas and wood-burning fireplaces


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