Ward, Hayden

Fireplace Tips to Keep You From Getting Burned

Fireplace at vacation rental property

Despite the ambiance and relaxation that a fireplace provides, there are also inherent fire dangers. The U.S. Fire Administration estimates that 75% of confined home heating fires occur in the chimney and flue of your fireplace. To combat the risk of fire or inhalation of dangerous carbon monoxide (CO) gas, it’s important for you to make chimney care part of your home maintenance plan.

Nevertheless, performing simple safety practices and maintenance on your vacation rental’s fireplace can help keep it in good condition, ensuring your guests and property stay safe.

Top Fireplace Safety Tips to Consider at Your Vacation Rental

Correct installation and ventilation are crucial to creating the groundwork for a secure fireplace.  As delightful as fireplaces are, keep an eye on the little things to avoid getting burned!

  • Keep it clear. Clear out any debris from the fireplace and keep all flammable items like furniture, blankets and papers a safe distance away at all times.
  • Start the fire safely. Never burn charcoal or use lighter fluids to light the fire in your rental property, as they can cause deadly fumes and the potential for explosion.
  • Don’t overload the fire. Overloading—which entails putting in more wood, paper and other ignitable materials in the fire than necessary—can overheat the walls or roof of the property. With this in mind, be sure to avoid this dangerous practice.
  • Keep children away from the fireplace. Educate children about the dangers of fire to deter their curiosity and encourage them to keep a safe distance from the fireplace. In addition, consider installing a gate around the fireplace to prevent kids from getting too close.
  • Put it out. Always the fire is completely out in the fireplace before leaving the property or going to bed for the evening.

Inspecting The Chimney at Your Vacation Rental

Having a certified chimney specialist inspect and clean your chimney annually to reduce the risk of fire hazards and carbon monoxide buildup can provide you will peace of mind. Both metal and masonry chimneys require maintenance so that smoke and flue gases are ventilated properly. At the very least, follow these tips to keep your chimney in good shape and prevent fire hazards:

  • Have your chimney cleaned regularly to reduce creosote buildup.
  • Make sure your masonry chimney has a flue liner in place to reduce the possibility that the masonry could absorb creosote.
  • Replace damaged liners, as they will allow creosote to accumulate and heat to escape.
  • When hiring someone to reline your chimney, only allow the contractor to use a product that has been tested and listed by a nationally recognized testing laboratory.

Specific Maintenance Tips

Two types of chimneys require specific maintenance to limit the risks at your property.

  1. Fireplace inserts—Make sure the vent is connected to the flue of the chimney.
  2. Factory-built metal chimneys—Do not use natural gas, fuel oil vents, well casing, stovepipe or other material in the chimney, as they cannot withstand the heat in the wood burner.

Additional Safety Tips for Your Rental

Don’t Forget About Detection Devices

Be sure to take extra precautions to keep your guests from potential fireplace hazards. Take time to test your smoke and CO detectors as part of your regular post-stay property inspection. Batteries for these devices should be changed every six months and CO detectors need to be replaced every five years. You’ll be able to detect fire hazards as fast as possible and minimize household damage.

Discuss With Your Guests

As the owner or manager of the vacation rental property, it is wise to be very honest about the fireplace’s condition. Within your property’s online listing, make sure to state if your fireplace is in working condition and what type of fireplace it is.

Offering a tutorial on how to use the fireplace or providing your guests with detailed directions on how to work it, may save you from headaches in the end. Keep in mind that this may be the first time some of your guests have used a fireplace before.

Provide the Necessary Supplies to Use the Fireplace

Your guests are more likely to build a safe fire if you provide the proper supplies and tools. A functional set of fireplace tools, including a poker, shovel, tongs and a broom, are a must. Make sure your guests have newspaper or kindling wood to start the fire, as well as matches or a commercial firelighter. Fireplaces should only be fueled by dry, well-seasoned logs or wood pellets. Provide enough of these items for your guests’ stay.

Keep These Precautions in Mind

While adding a fireplace to your rental property is the hot new trend and chimney installations are through the roof, do not vent more than one heater or appliance into a single flue, as major complications can arise. If one fuel-burning appliance is connected to a flue and then you attach another appliance, such as a water heater, you are running the risk of various problems—including heavy creosote accumulation, deterioration of the flue or CO gas drifting into your home.

CBIZ Vacation Rental Insurance—The Perfect Match

Have a burning question or want to learn more about protecting your property through CBIZ Vacation Rental Insurance? Request a free quote.

This blog may contain scenarios that are provided as examples only. Coverage is subject to the terms, conditions and exclusions of the policy issued. The information provided is general in nature and may be affected by changes in law or the interpretation of such laws. The reader is advised to contact a professional prior to taking any action based upon this information.

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CBIZ Vacation Rental Insurance, a division of CBIZ Insurance Services,Inc., is the largest insurer of short-term vacation rental properties in the United States. As part of an $850 million New York Stock Exchange traded company (CBZ), we are the first broker to develop specific policy coverage to meet the needs for vacation rental properties and the amenities offered by these businesses. We have insured vacation rental properties since 2002.

The CBIZ Vacation Rental Insurance team knows insurance, specifically the risks and exposures related to short-term vacation rentals.We won't confuse you with technical "insurance speak" ~ our representatives are well versed in explaining your coverage in plain English. With hands-on, personal customer service, we guarantee swift communication and a 24/7 claims team that is ready to respond to your call any time of the day. As specialist in the industry, we leverage our knowledge and passion to ensure you and your business are adequately protected.