Turning up the Heat
With the harsh winter we often experience in the upper Midwest, a growing number of people are looking for ways to avoid high utility bills while still keeping their family warm this upcoming season. Some people are turning to wood-burning or pellet stoves and other heat sources to replace or supplement their current heating system. While there are great systems available, stoves and fireplaces can also be major contributors to home insurance claims. From fires to carbon monoxide exposure, they can pose potential dangers if not properly installed and serviced.
Be sure to have a licensed professional install your system. This is not a DIY job! Potential savings from trying to install a system yourself can quite literally go up in smoke along with valuable belongings and the lives of others. If you have a system currently, be sure to follow the manufacturer guidelines for cleaning and service. Upon installation, the fire department or building inspector should approve the installation including all piping and venting.
To eliminate or minimize the potential dangers of a wood burning stove or fireplace, the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) offers the following safety advice:
• Don’t use flammable liquids to start or accelerate a fire • Never burn charcoal indoors; it can produce lethal amounts of carbon monoxide • Wood-burning stoves should be UL-listed, and of solid construction and design • To reduce creosote buildup in a wood-burning stove, run the stove hot twice a day for 15-30 minutes • Keep flammable materials away from your stove or fireplace • Inspect and clean your chimney annually • Use a fireplace screen to keep embers and sparks contained • Never leave a fireplace fire unattended • Don’t close the damper with hot ashes in the fireplace because it may reheat the fire and bring carbon monoxide into the house
Be sure that you and your home are warm and well protected this winter. Call Paroubek Insurance at (920)347-9115. The companies that we represent will insure your home with these alternate heat sources and we will be sure to keep you and your family well protected.