Fireplaces are a cozy addition to any room. But when it comes to household birds and fireplaces, some fireplaces don’t mix well with your feathered friends.
Fireplaces that burn solid fuels produce harmful smoke and airborne particles that are unhealthy for birds. Additionally, fireplaces with an open flame or hot surface pose a burn risk for birds. Typically, electric fireplaces are the safest type for birds. Second are gas fireplaces, while wood-burning fireplaces and pellet stoves are the least safe.
Although some aspects of a fireplace are potentially harmful to a household bird, there are ways to have both a cozy fire and a safe and healthy bird. Let’s dive in.
Are Fireplaces Safe For Birds?
Some fireplaces are safe for birds; for example, an electric fireplace is the safest. The other fireplaces—gas, wood-burning, and pellet stoves—are less safe. However, a gas fireplace is considered safe if it’s a closed system with an outside vent. Wood-burning and pellet stoves are unsafe for birds because they produce harmful air pollutants.
The biggest fireplace hazard for birds is that the air becomes polluted with smoke and ash particulates. The bird’s respiratory system is sensitive to pollutants in the air, especially smoke.
Secondly, a bird may land on a fireplace’s hot surface or in the open flame, causing itself an injury. By eliminating these hazards, you can keep your bird safe.
Of course, these factors will differ for each fireplace type, so let’s cover those!
Are Electric Fireplaces Safe For Birds?
An electric fireplace is the safest option for an indoor bird. Electric fireplaces don’t have a real flame and don’t put harmful byproducts in the air. Additionally, most surfaces on the electric fireplace don’t become as hot as other fireplaces, meaning the bird is unlikely to burn itself.
A bird can safely be in the same room as an electric fireplace because no pollutants are introduced into the air. However, if you have an electric fireplace with a landing surface that becomes hot, take measures to prevent your bird from landing on the hot surface while the fireplace is in use.
Are Gas Fireplaces Safe For Birds?
A gas fireplace can be a safe option if it’s a closed system with venting outside. An open, ventless gas fireplace can introduce air pollutants or reduce the oxygen inside a room. An open flame is unsafe because a bird can accidentally fly into it. Move the bird to another room while using an open-flame fireplace.
Similar to an electric fireplace, a closed-system gas fireplace doesn’t introduce air pollutants and blocks the bird from accessing a live flame. If you do use an open flame, ventless gas fireplace, use an air monitor to alert you when a room’s oxygen level becomes unhealthy.
Are Wood-Burning Fireplaces Safe For Birds?
A wood-burning fireplace is unsafe for household birds. Most smoke will vent out of the chimney; however, a small amount of smoke will inevitably come inside. The smoke and ash pollutants inside the room are hazardous to a bird’s health. Also, the live flame is a burn risk for the bird, should they accidentally fly into the fireplace.
Not using a wood-burning fireplace when you have a household bird is safest due to the bird’s smoke sensitivity. However, if you do use a wood-burning fireplace, here are some tips to keep your bird safe.
- Bring your bird to another room while the fireplace is in use. Be advised that smoke travels between rooms and can still harm your bird.
- You can use glass panes in front of the fireplace to block your bird from accidentally flying inside. This will also block some smoke from entering the room.
- Run an air purifier in the room your bird is safely kept in while a fireplace is used.
Are Pellet Stoves Safe For Birds?
A pellet stove or wood stove is unsafe for birds. These stoves emit smoke and ash particulate into the air that is harmful to a bird’s respiratory system. Stoves also become extremely hot on their surfaces. Should the bird land on the hot surface, it could injure itself.
A big concern would be keeping the bird from landing on the stove because the unit, often free-standing, would be hard to block off. However, you can apply the same tips from above for safely using a wood-burning fireplace if you use a pellet stove. But, again, be advised, the safest option for your bird would be not to use a pellet stove.
As a side note, a fireplace can also harm outdoor birds. In the open air, smoke pollution is less of an issue unless you have a family of birds living close to your chimney. Also, the top of the chimney could heat up to the point where an outdoor bird could burn itself.
However, a potential hazard to outdoor birds would be if a bird built a nest inside your chimney. The chimney smoke would be harmful to the bird, and the chimney nest can also lead to a dangerous chimney fire.
Can Birds Be In The Same Room As A Fireplace?
A bird can safely be in the same room when a fireplace isn’t on. A bird is only safe in the same room as an electric fireplace and a closed-system gas fireplace when a fireplace is on. A bird shouldn’t be in the same room as wood-burning fireplaces or pellet stoves while they are on.
Any fireplace that isn’t in use is safe for a bird to be around because the fireplace isn’t producing pollutants, and there is no danger of a live flame.
However, chimneys can become a challenge for bird owners as the bird may accidentally fly up the chimney and escape. As a tip, close the damper (only when the fireplace isn’t in use!) to block the bird from flying outside.
Is Fire Smoke Bad For Birds?
Any type of smoke—i.e., fireplaces, candles, cigars, or vapes—is harmful to a bird’s respiratory system. To keep your bird safe, bring your bird to a different room while a fireplace is used; however, smoke can travel between rooms. Ultimately, it’s best not to use a smoke-producing fireplace when you have a household bird.
A bird’s respiratory system is fragile and sensitive to smoke and fragrances. Therefore, a household bird shouldn’t be around any smoke, strong fumes, or cleaning products.
Exposure to smoke can lead to health issues such as an inflamed respiratory tract or reduced immune strength. The best way to enjoy a cozy fire while keeping your birds safe is to use an electric fireplace or a closed-system gas fireplace.