CBIZ INNKEEPERS INSURANCE BLOG

Insights and tips on how to protect your inn or bed & breakfast, giving you and your guests peace of mind.

Ward, Hayden
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Must Read Fireplace Safety Tips for Your Inn

Fireplaces at Inns

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 property 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 inn’s maintenance plan.

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

Top Fireplace Safety Tips to Consider at Your Inn

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 at your inn, 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 Bed and Breakfast Property

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 Inn

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 property damage.

Keep These Precautions in Mind

Never 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 property.

CBIZ Innkeepers Insurance—We Flame to Please

Have a burning question or want to learn more about protecting your bed and breakfast property through CBIZ Innkeepers Insurance? Connect with a member of our team.

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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