As we settle into the winter months, what can be cozier than enjoying some time in front of a gently burning fire? According to the U.S. Fire Administration, more than one-third of Americans use fireplaces, wood stoves and other fuel-fired appliances as primary heat sources in their homes. It can be less expensive than traditional gas, and advancements in technology have made fireplaces more efficient as a heat source. Plus, if the power goes out this winter, you will have a reliable heating source while you wait for the electric company to restore your power.
All of these are good reasons to consider using a fireplace as your primary heat source, but according to the U.S. Fire Administration, confined fires, those fires confined to chimneys, flues or fuel burners, accounted for 87 percent of residential building heating fires (i.e., fires caused by central heating units, fixed or portable local heating units, fireplaces, heating stoves, chimneys and water heaters).
Worry not. There are ways to enjoy your fireplace and protect your home. If you are thinking of installing a fireplace in your home, call our agency first. Some insurance companies require proof of certification to show that a fireplace is installed properly and that it complies with local building codes. If you are buying a new home that already has a fireplace, let us know that, too. You may need to have your fireplace inspected before an insurance company will write a homeowners insurance policy. Some types of fireplaces also may increase your insurance premiums on your homeowners policy. If we (and your insurance company) don’t know you have a fireplace and a fire does occur in your home, it might void your insurance policy.
To protect your home further, the National Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends that you have your fireplace and chimney inspected once a year. Even if you don’t use wood to heat the home, it’s a good idea to have your furnace inspected and cleaned up, to prevent fires from gas and oil burners. This will make sure that they are in good working condition and lessen the likelihood of a fire.
Once you’ve given our agency a call, sit back, relax and enjoy your fireplace.