Fireplaces and wood-burning stoves are desirable household features, as they can instantly turn any living environment into a warm and cozy setting. However, users should be aware of how easily a chimney fire can break out when using these appliances. Usually, this occurs as the result of creosote buildup inside a chimney from a lack of cleaning. According to the professionals at Texas County Mutual Insurance in Licking, MO, many home insurance claims are filed each year because of chimney fires. Fortunately, you can protect your property by following the tips below.
3 Steps for Preventing Home Insurance Claims Due to a Chimney Fire
1. Use the Proper Materials to Build a Fire
Although fires can be built using a variety of materials, the only thing that’s truly safe to burn in a fireplace or wood stove is dry, seasoned wood. This means you should never throw in any kind of trash, cardboard, tree branches, or magazine paper, as these items are more likely to produce sparks. Additionally, burning wet wood creates more smoke, which contributes to increased creosote buildup.
2. Have Your Chimney Cleaned Regularly
Your fireplace and wood stove should be professionally inspected and cleaned at least once a year. It will need to be done more often if they’re used more frequently. Ideally, this will be done before the cold season arrives so you’re ready to start building fires safely once the temperatures drop. A dirty chimney can inhibit smoke from properly venting up the flue, leading to a chimney fire and subsequent home insurance claim.
3. Invest in Safety Equipment
In the event a chimney fire breaks out, you should be prepared with safety equipment that can alert you and possibly help put the fire out. Make sure smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are installed throughout the house and a fire extinguisher is on hand nearby. It’s also best to use a fireplace screen to protect the room from flying embers.
Prevention is key in avoiding chimney fires. If you use a fireplace or wood stove often, you must implement proper maintenance and safety practices. You should also have an adequate home insurance policy that will cover damages should a disaster strike. An agent from Texas County Mutual Insurance will help you review your current coverage or shop for a new policy to make sure your property and personal belongings are sufficiently protected. Since 1904, they have offered quality products at competitive rates. Call (573) 674-3125 to request an insurance quote, or visit them online to learn more about their services.