There are certain objects in your house that you might not pay attention to until there’s a problem. Just think, when was the last time you thought about your chimney or furnace? However, now that winter is upon us, these two parts of your home probably are working overtime.
Chimney and furnace experts recommend that this equipment is overhauled at least once a year to prevent fire and smoke damage. However, there are some steps you can take to maintain the safety of your fireplace and furnace, including:
• Inspect your chimney regularly for cracks, obstructions and loose bricks.
• Seal all unused flue openings with solid masonry.
• To prevent roof fires, don’t let creosote build up in your chimney.
• Don’t use a lot of paper when building a fire. You could ignite the soot in the chimney.
• Never burn charcoal in your fireplace. Charcoal produces carbon monoxide.
• If there are hot ashes in your fireplace, keep the damper open.
• Before you turn on your furnace, have it inspected by a qualified professional.
• Make sure to check the condition of the automatic controls and emergency shutoffs.
• If the walls and ceiling around your furnace are close together, add insulation or additional clearance space.
• Keep all trash and combustibles away from the furnace.
Even when taking the necessary precautions, accidents do happen.
That’s why your homeowners insurance policy is so important. While there isn’t “chimney or furnace coverage,” a standard homeowners insurance policy covers specific types of damage for the entire house, which includes the chimney and furnace. Typically, a broad-form policy lists 16 standard types of covered damage (including fire, lightning, theft, explosion and weight of ice and snow). And, a special-form policy will cover damages as long as they are not listed in the exclusions section of the policy. As long as the damage caused by the chimney or furnace is under the covered perils of your insurance policy, your insurance company should pay the claim.
If you do need to repair your chimney or furnace, avoid scammers. Make sure you get several quotes before deciding on a company and be cautious of people who knock on your door. Don’t feel pressured by people who try to pressure you into quick decisions. Call your Better Business Bureau to see if the company you are interested in has had any complaints issued against it.
Confused about your homeowners policy? Do you want to make sure you have enough coverage to protect you through the winter months and beyond? Give us a call. We’ll be happy to review your current policy and make suggestions.