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How to extinguish a fireplace fire

What's the best way to put out a fire in a fireplace before going to bed? I don't want to leave it burning unattended, and in any event don't want the flue to be open all night after it burns itself out, sucking heat out of the house. So, I want to put out the fire so I can close the flue and go to bed. Is it okay just to pour water on it, or will this damage the fireplace?

Re: How to extinguish a fireplace fire

Sorry, their is no way I know to put a fire in the fireplace out. Water will make a mess & possibly crack the firebrick and it still likely won't be completely out. If you then close the damper the house will stink or be smokey when you wake up.
The best thing to do is get glass doors, so you can close down the damper some & seal the fireplace front to limit the heated air going up the flue.

Re: How to extinguish a fireplace fire

I think using smaller pieces of firewood will help shorten the time you have to wait for them to burn out. I think any way you try to put it out will cause smoke issues.

I keep a 5 gallon bucket of sand near the coal stove in case of emergency. I have never tested this out (or had to thankfully) but I have been told it is an effective way to smother a coal fire. Maybe it would also work for a fireplace.

A. Spruce
Re: How to extinguish a fireplace fire

I would not recommend trying to extinguish the fire because without copious amounts of water, you'll still have hot embers that will smolder and emit carbon monoxide and smoke. Don't mistake lack of flame as sign of no burning fuel. If you were to close the flue with hot embers, then all that carbon monoxide and smoke comes into the house where it is a detriment to your health and life.

With either a well fitting screen or glass doors, sparks will not be an issue while unattended. In the case of the glass doors, you can shut the doors and the vent on the doors and have a relatively good seal to prevent the fireplace pulling heat/air from the room, assuming that it's got an outside air source in the back of the firebox. You are best to either leave the flue open for a few days (glass doors shut, of course ) to allow the embers to fully burn out and cool or the morning after a fire, remove all the ash and embers from the fireplace into a metal container and take them outside, placing the whole thing on a non-combustible surface, before closing the flue. NEVER REMOVE HOT COALS or fuel that is still burning from the fireplace, and never place fresh ashes/embers into the garbage can. Always let the ash cool for several days - up to a week - before disposing into a refuse container.

Blue RidgeParkway
Re: How to extinguish a fireplace fire

maybe for your concerns you'd be happier with a gas log set - instant on and instant off.

Re: How to extinguish a fireplace fire

Good comments from ed21 , bp21901 , A.Spruce.

Like ed21 said pouring water is not a good thing to do ... aside from thermal shock and damage ... you'll have a blast of steam and noxic smoke.

You might check with your local fire department for a recommendation.

Re: How to extinguish a fireplace fire

You can significantly slow the combustion and hasten the fire going out by spreading out the coals, but you'll probably fall asleep by the fire before they actually go out.

If the fireplace is only for ambience, build small fires. Closing the flue if the coals are not let-your-kid-play-with-them-cold is a bad idea, for the reasons others have expressed.

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