How to Work a Fireplace in an Apartment


A fireplace in your apartment can help save on heating bills during the winter while providing a relaxing focal point in your living room or den. Viewing and listening to a crackling fire can be a pleasant way to unwind. As with any source of heat, an apartment fireplace should be used only with certain safety precautions in mind. Always check your lease for any prohibitions or special instructions regarding a fireplace before lighting a fire.

Things You'll Need

  • Seasoned wood and kindling for a wood-burning fireplace
  • Matches
  • Firescreen
  • Reach inside the flue of your wood or gas fireplace to grab the damper handle. Push in and upward on the handle to lock the damper in the open position so hot gases can escape up the chimney. An electric fireplace does not require a damper.

  • Arrange seasoned wood on top of kindling under the fire grate for a wood-burning apartment fireplace and light a match to start the fire. Gas and electric fireplaces typically ignite with the push of a button. The igniter button is on the edge of the hearth or just inside the fireplace near the connection to the gas or electric fire burner.

  • Add wood as necessary to maintain the fire. Adjust the flame control knob on a gas or electric fireplace to the desired level.

  • Set a firescreen in front of a wood-burning fire to contain sparking embers if you do not have glass doors on the fireplace. Gas and electric fireplaces do not require firescreens, as there is very little risk of fire or burning material escaping into the room.

Tips & Warnings

  • Contact your landlord if the fireplace does not appear to have been used in some time or if you are uncertain about the condition and operation of the damper. Do not attempt to light a gas or wood fire unless you are positive the damper is open and working properly.

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