Is It Safe To Leave A Fireplace Unattended Overnight?

Is It Safe To Leave A Fireplace Unattended Overnight? (Three Reasons)

Leaving a fireplace burning is thought to be a good idea, especially during the cold winter months.

Some fireplaces can keep burning without issues as long as fuel is still available.

While fireplaces provide warmth, giving them less care can be dangerous.

So, Is It Safe To Leave A Fireplace Unattended Overnight?

A simple answer would be no! As such, you should never leave an unattended fireplace overnight because you will be risking your life and property. For this reason, always put off the fire before leaving your house or going to bed to allow the coals to cool overnight so that you can dispose of them in the morning.

Typically, leaving a burning fireplace overnight may be validated by some points, but any unattended fire is risky and a threat to life. Read on to get insights into why you should avoid leaving unattended fireplaces burning overnight, how to put off the fire safely, and other warmth alternatives other than a burning fireplace.

Sleeping With A Burning Fireplace

It is very tempting to leave a fireplace on throughout the night so that you don’t freeze but enjoy waking up to a warm home.

But the truth is, it is very risky to leave a fireplace unattended for even an hour, considering the possible harm it can cause to your property.

In reality, some people will intentionally leave fireplaces burning.

The reason people will leave a fireplace burning overnight is to help them get better sleep and comfort during cold nights.

Some who use wood as fuel will argue that it is hard to put it out and instead leave it to provide warmth until morning.

These reasons may be valid, but the risk posed by carelessly handled fire is so high that someone leaves any fire unattended despite the circumstances.

Three Reasons For Always Putting Out A Fireplace Fire Overnight

Safety is very paramount both to you and your property; thus, you should not by any chance put it at risk.

If you are still thinking of the benefits you can get by leaving a fireplace unattended, then here are more reasons why you should never leave it.

1. Any Unattended Fire Is A Hazard

Whether large or small, open fires are hazardous. Regardless of the fire setup or source, you should never leave any fire alone.

Whether it’s a pelleted stove or a few firewood logs, leaving them in the fireplace is extremely dangerous.

If your fireplace has doors and can run for several days, you should be keen and watch it; otherwise, it can be hazardous.

Anything can happen with open fires; for instance, when a slight wind passes, it can blow hot embers to nearby flammable materials and potentially cause a massive fire.

Such fires can burn down a bigger part of your property.

When using wood in your fireplace, it is advisable to stop adding wood at least two hours before sleeping.

2. Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

A fireplace is one of the major sources of carbon monoxide in our homes.

Carbon monoxide is a dangerous gas emitted due to incomplete burning and is another reason why you should not leave a fireplace unattended.

Even if you have a carbon monoxide detector in your house, you may not quickly notice the presence of the gas when sleeping.

Even if you accidentally inhale small amounts of carbon monoxide, it will adversely affect some of your body systems.

Leaving a burning fireplace overnight exposes members of your household to the vulnerability of carbon monoxide poisoning.

3. Fireplaces Are Not Excellent Primary Sources Of Heat.

This is a reason that should open the eyes of those who intentionally leave fireplaces burning because they require warmth.

Standing or sitting near a fire keeps you warm because of the radiations they produce because they are radiant heaters and not because of warm air.

You will realize that you immediately start feeling cold once you put out a fire and even the house gets cold.

In essence, fireplaces only complement other heat sources in your house.

Still, they are neither effective nor efficient in keeping you warm unless you are sleeping by them, making it more dangerous.

You should therefore think of other less harmful ways of keeping yourself warm throughout the night.

Related: Can Fireplaces Be Load Bearing?

Fireplace Alternatives You Can Consider

There are several heat sources that you can use in your house to keep you warm in the cold seasons. Here is a list of some of the heat sources you can use instead of an ordinary fireplace.

1. Pellet Burning Appliances

The appliances use compacted organic fuel from recycled products.

They are pretty expensive but burn out cleaner than other comparable alternatives.

2. Electric Blankets

You can use electric blankets to warm yourself through the night.

Electric blankets are better because they can be easily switched on or off, and the heat they produce does not affect other people in your house.

Electric blankets can, at times, get too hot and deny you a good night’s sleep.

Unlike the traditional blankets, spelling any liquid on an electric blanket can cause an electric shock; thus, you can not use it when eating or drinking.

3. Wood Stoves

It is a modern method of producing heat with less fuel, thus reducing soot, smoke, and other harmful gases.

They are known to produce more heat over a long time because the heated oxygen is released just above the fire.

4. Gas Inserts Fireplace

These are retrofitted wood-burning hearths that use gas.

They are usually surrounded by a metal box fixed inside another metal box that is fitted into the fireplace. They produce more heat compared to a wood fireplace.

5. Gas Logs Fireplace

Here, a stack of ceramic logs is inserted into an already existing fireplace.

They consist of a burner that can be vent-free or vented.

They are used more for decoration than warmth production, though they still produce warmth better than wood fireplaces.

6. Stock Up On Reliable Blankets

Human bodies naturally produce heat, and well-made blankets can be used to trap that heat.

This may seem to be a traditional method of protecting yourself against cold, but it is the safest.

All you need is to layer up more blankets if one is not enough and enjoy your night with little to no disturbances and no fear of fire.

How To Safely Put Out A Fireplace Flame

Deadly fire can arise from a fireplace while trying to put it out correctly.

Therefore more precautions should be taken when putting out a fire; additionally, water should not be thrown on the fire as it will create more smoke and spread ashes out.

You should therefore follow these steps to put out a fireplace:

  • Use a fireplace pocket to spread out fire embers
  • Add ash to the embers
  • Put a thin layer of baking soda to the fire
  • Allow the fires to cool and put them in a container
  • Store the container outside and far from anything flammable


For the sake of the safety of your loved ones, property, and self, you should avoid leaving the fireplace unattended overnight.

Consider additional warmth-generating equipment if you are fond of forgetting to attend to your fireplace at night.

The information in this article may be helpful when searching for knowledge on fireplaces and how to handle them.


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