Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
While gas fireplaces, stoves and inserts are a great asset to any home, the glass and surrounding surfaces become extremely hot during operation and can stay hot long after operation. Therefore, it’s important to remember that touching the hot glass can lead to serious, irreversible burns. Households with young children, the aged, infirm, or pets especially need to exercise caution. Here are answers to a few frequently asked questions.
How often do these injuries occur and who is at risk?
While very rare, injuries have been reported. At-risk individuals include young children, the aged, infirm and even pets that may not understand the potential for injuries or accidentally come into contact with hot glass by tripping or falling, resulting in burns.
What can consumers do to prevent the chance of injury?
To minimize the chance of burn injuries from hot glass, follow these safety tips:
- Make sure family members and guests are aware that the glass on a gas fireplace, stove or insert could be very hot.
- Always supervise children, the aged, infirm or pets when the gas fireplace, stove or insert is in operation – or recently turned off.
- Wait for the appliance and glass to cool down before allowing anyone to get near it. Cool down can take a long time – an hour or more. Since some appliances use a thermostat to automatically turn the fire on/off, you may not know when the fire was actually turned off. Therefore, always consider the glass to be potentially hot.
- Be aware that surrounding metal surfaces, such as door frames and grilles, may also get hot.
- Always read the owner’s manual and follow instructions for safe use of a fireplace, stove or insert. For example, there may be ways to disable the remote control receiver (if your appliance has one) when the appliance is not in use.
What extra precautions should consumers take if they live a household with children, the aged, infirm or pets?
Consider the following extra safety precautions with at-risk individuals:
- Explain fireplace, stove and insert safety to children and other at-risk individuals to make sure they know they should never touch the glass on a fireplace, stove or insert.
- Install a switch lock to prevent children from turning on the gas fireplace, stove or insert. Operation of these switches differs by manufacturer, so be sure to read the owner’s manual and follow instructions carefully.
- Keep the remote control (if your appliance has one) out of the reach of children.
Are there any products consumers can purchase to ensure safe use of their existing fireplaces, stoves and inserts?
Consumers with existing fireplaces, stoves or inserts should consider installing a protective screen or physical barrier, especially if there are children or other at-risk individuals in the house, to reduce the risk of serious burns. Safety products come in various forms, including:
- Attachable safety screens designed for a specific gas fireplace, stove or insert fasten to the front of the fireplace. While creating an air space between the hot glass and the screen, these screens still allow consumers to see the beauty of the fire. (Aftermarket safety screens that attach to the fireplace, stove or insert could adversely affect the safe operation of your unit. Contact the safety screen manufacturer to verify that the safety screen is approved by the fireplace manufacturer for your appliance.)
- Free-standing safety gates create a barrier to prevent access, while a door in the gate (if available) allows adults to access the appliance.
- Free-standing fireplace screens are typically constructed of mesh screen and are set back from the fireplace or stove front to prevent direct access.
If I’m shopping for a new fireplace, stove or insert, how do I know it’s safe?
All new certified fireplaces, stoves and inserts manufactured after January 1, 2015 will include a safety screen or barrier that must be installed. Rigorous testing will ensure these safety screens and barriers are effective in preventing serious, irreversible burns.
How do I know which safety product is right for me?
When shopping for aftermarket safety products for an existing glass front fireplace, stove or insert, keep these tips in mind:
- If you know the manufacturer and model number of your appliance, contact the manufacturer first; they may have a safety device specific to your unit. Click here to locate manufacturer contact information.
- Proper fitting of a safety device is important, so ask an expert. Speak with a hearth specialty retailer in your area for advice. They sell and service a wide variety of fireplaces, stoves and inserts and can recommend safety products for your specific appliance. Click here to find a local retailer.
- Look for information about how effective the safety product is in protecting against burns.
- Use a device that is sturdy and stable so it cannot unintentionally be removed, pushed or pulled over by a child or pet.
- Once a safety device is installed, keep it in place. You never know when a child, a pet, or even an adult could trip, fall and accidentally touch hot glass. Burns can occur in less than a second in some cases.