Home Insurance: Woodstove & Chimney Fire Safety

fireplaceWith winter fast approaching, more and more people will be warming upby their woodstoves and fireplaces.

Nothing beats winter’s weather like a warm and cozy fire, but without proper maintenance, you could be risking a chimney fire; forcing you to place a claimon your Property Insurance. With just a few simple precautions, you can minimize your risk and enjoy cozy fires all winter long.

If you have a chimney fire:

  • Get everyone out of the house immediately
  • Call the fire department

If you can do so without risk to yourself:

  • Put a chimney fire extinguisher into the fireplace or wood stove
  • Close the glass doors on your fireplace
  • Close the air inlets on the wood stove
  • Use a garden hose to spray down your roof (not your chimney) to prevent the fire from spreading to your roof
  • Monitor the exterior chimney temperature throughout the house for at least two to three hours after the fire is out
  • Call a certified chimney inspector to assess the damage

Your insurance company is there to help. Contact your independent insurance broker or your insurance company to report any damage.

Protecting you and your family:

  • Have your chimney and venting system inspected at a minimum once a year by a Certified Chimney Sweep.
  • Maintain all inspection and maintenance reports and follow their maintenance recommendations.
  • Use seasoned woods only (dryness is more important than hard wood versus soft wood considerations).
  • Burn small, hot fires as they produce less smoke.
  • Ensure the damper is fully open when having a fire.
  • Never burn wrapping paper, construction scraps of treated or painted wood, cardboard boxes, trash or Christmas trees in your fireplace or wood stove as these items could spark a chimney fire.
  • Never burn large quantities of resinous softwoods as these fires can quickly get out of hand.
  • Install stovepipe thermometers so that you can monitor flue temperatures and adjust your habits accordingly.
  • Where applicable, inspect and clean catalytic combustors on a regular basis.

Signs that you’ve had a chimney fire:

  • Cracks in exterior masonry
  • Discoloured and distorted rain cap
  • Cracked or collapsed flue tiles, or tiles with large chunks missing
  • Roofing material damaged from hot creosote
  • Warped metal on the damper, metal smoke chamber, connector pipe orfactory builtmetal chimney
  • Creosote flakes and pieces found on the roof or ground

Stay Warm and Stay Safe!

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