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Tips for Avoiding Chimney Fires

As the weather cools down, it is tempting to light a fire for ambience, warmth and roasting marshmallows. If you have a fireplace, here are some tips to avoid costly fire-related homeowners claims:

1. Have your chimney inspected and cleaned once a year by a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep®.

2. Keep an eye on the smoke. If it appears dense, have an inspector come check the chimney.

3. Listen for popping and crackling in the chimney. Call an inspector if you hear these sounds.

4. Watch for build-up of creosote—a brown or black residue that can lead to chimney build up. A buildup

of creosote means another call to your chimney inspector.

5. Hardwoods like maple, oak, ash or birch have a slow burn rate and leave less creosote, which means

you can burn less wood and reduce the residue in your chimney.

6. Stick with dry wood that produces less smoke and leaves less residue in your chimney.

7. Install a stainless steel liner that can withstand high temperatures and help keep embers contained

inside the fireplace.

8. Do not use paper or combustible liquids in your home fireplace.

9. To keep unwanted elements from coming down the chimney, install a chimney cap.

10. When a fire is burning, keep glass doors and the fireplace damper open to ensure a good air supply. Good air supply is a key to prevent a buildup of creosote.

If you have questions about how your homeowners insurance policy would respond if you have a fire in your home, give us a call. We can review your policy with you and offer suggestions that may help.