8 Chimney and Wood Fireplace Safety Tips – and the Value of Renter's Insurance

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As you get ready to spend cozy evenings by the fireplace, be sure to do a little “winter proofing” so you can safely enjoy the Holiday season.

Here are some tips to winterize your chimney and fireplace:

~Invite a chimney sweep over to your house!  Not only will he bring you good luck (don’t forget to shake his hand or blow him a kiss) but he’ll also remove soot and creosote buildup from your chimney so you can safely use it this winter. Have your chimney inspected annually and swept as necessary.

~Screen or cap the top of the chimney to keep out rodents and birds, and keep branches and leaves at least 15 feet away from the chimney.

~Check the mortar between bricks and tuckpoints.

~ Make sure the fireplace damper is opening and closing properly.

~ Choose the right fuel:  Split wood should be well seasoned and have been split for 6 months to 1 year.  Never burn Christmas trees or treated wood in a wood fireplace or wood stove.

~ Keep the hearth clear and install a fireplace screen to catch sparks.

~ Never leave a fire unattended and keep a close eye on children and pets.

~ If you have a woodburning fire stove or fireplace, it’s so much more important to keep your Carbon Monoxide Detectors and Smoke Detectors in good working order! Change the batteries regularly at Daylight Savings Time.

(If you have a furnace, call a HVAC professional to inspect the furnace and clean the ducts.  Change furnace filters monthly.)

For more information on Chimney Fires, please visit http://www.csia.org/
One of our agents witnessed the effects of a chimney fire not long ago: 

A house across the street had finally found new tenants after many months of vacancy. Tragically, less than a week after moving in, the young couple started a fire in the wood fireplace — only to notice an eery glimmer between the bricks and hear a distinctive crackling in the wall.  They did the right thing: They immediately rushed outside and called 911.  The fire department came with no less than six vehicles and was able to contain the fire quickly.  Our agent awoke at 2:00 am to bright lights, running motors, and loud voices.

Thankfully, no one was hurt in the chimney fire.  But there was some structural damage to the house and smoke damage inside the home to the tenants’ furnishings.
Did the young couple have Renter’s Insurance? 

We don’t know….  We hope they did.  A landlord’s insurance policy only covers damage to the structure of the home.  However, a landlord is not responsible for the tenant’s personal property. 

Even if you think you don’t own that much “stuff”, you’ll be surprise how quickly $35,000 or even $50,000 in personal property can accumulate!  A renter’s policy will protect your belongings in case of fire, theft, broken water pipes, and other perils (including smoke damage) and will help replace items that are stolen from your car or while you’re away from home.  Additionally, it provides liability coverage in case you accidentally cause damage or injury to another person.

All that for about $12 to $15 per month!

Here’s a “little different” idea:

If you someone on your gift list is renting but doesn’t have insurance, why not give them a special Christmas present this year?  Aside from the personal property, liability protection, and discount on car insurance that a Renter’s Policy provides, you will give them a priceless gift: Peace of Mind!

Please give us a call to learn more!

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McClain Insurance Services
10410 19th Ave SE
Everett, WA 98208
(425) 379-9200
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