Is It OK To Use a Fireplace While On Vacation?
While browsing through Airbnb listings or fancy hotel accommodations, you’ve probably seen fireplaces featured in beautiful photographs, usually with snowy backdrops or wine bottles sitting on the mantel. When you check-in, you notice that the fireplace obviously hasn’t been used in quite some time. That begs the question, is it OK to actually use the fireplace while on vacation?
Ask Ahead of Time
The answer of course is sometimes yes, and sometimes no. As a fireplace expert that notices fireplaces everywhere I go (a blessing and a curse, trust me), most fireplaces I see in places we rent are NOT in working order. Either the renter has disconnected it due to a bad experience, it’s so old it’s not safe any longer, or they simply do not know enough about the fireplace to let strangers use it, let alone themselves. My suggestion here is simple: Ask ahead of time.
Most rentees, whether it’s an Airbnb/Vrbo host, property management company, or hotel manager, will be very open and honest on the fireplace’s condition. Some may even be personally responsible for the fireplace, in which case they’re the perfect person to ask. If they tell you that no, sorry, the fireplace does not work, now you know and can factor that into your decision on where to stay, or at least save you the time of trying to flip every switch in the house and wondering why the fireplace doesn’t kick on.
If they say yes, you have an obligation to spend some time figuring out what type of fireplace it is, and how to use it safely. If you’ve never used a similar fireplace or stove in your life, ask the owners if you can have a tutorial, or educate yourself ahead of time by asking a handy friend (like me!) or consulting some YouTube videos.
Ask the owners what you SHOULD do and SHOULD NOT do to make sure you are on the same page. It’s also proper etiquette to clean the fireplace after using it, or again, ask the hosts what they prefer.
Fireplace Safey Is Important
The moral of the story here is that a functional fireplace can add a lot of ambiance and charm to your vacation rental. Who wouldn’t want to come back to the cabin after a long day skiing in the mountains and sit next to a crackling fire? But before you do, make sure the fireplace is safe to use ahead of time and make sure you know how to use it!