A fireplace can be a pleasing feature in any single-family rental home in Waunakee. However, fireplaces also pose some unique risks to renters. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), fireplaces are the leading cause of home fires in the U.S., causing nearly 500 deaths and over $1 billion in property damage every year. To enjoy your fireplace and stay safe at the same time, it is necessary to obey a few basic fireplace safety rules.
The most common reason a fireplace causes a house fire is because of creosote buildup or obstructions in the chimney. Over time, wood-burning fires create a thick layer of soot and ash, called creosote, on the inside of the chimney walls. If not properly cleaned, this material can ignite, causing significant damage to the property and threatening the safety of everyone in the home. Other problems, such as dead leaves, bird nests, or falling bricks, can block the airflow in the chimney and cause sparks to fly out into the room, possibly igniting rugs, nearby décor, or furniture. In the case of gas fireplaces, and obstructed chimney could cause dangerous fumes to vent into the home. Both conditions are incredibly unsafe for you and the home’s other occupants if any.
To avoid these and other problems, there are several important steps that you must take. First, use only the recommended types of fuel for your fireplace. For wood-burning fireplaces, that is dried and well-seasoned wood free of any chemicals or accelerants. For gas or electric fireplaces, never put anything in the flames. This can lead to showers of sparks and hot ash capable of starting the house on fire. Chimney fires can become as hot as 2000°F, hot enough to crack bricks, melt metal, and catch your attic, siding, and roof on fire. Correct use of your fireplace is one of the best ways to avoid such dangers.
Next, be sure to supervise the use of your fireplace carefully. For both gas and wood fireplaces, never leave the fireplace lit unsupervised. It is vital to keep an updated fire extinguisher nearby and to make sure that you regularly change the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. If your fireplace has an operating manual, keep it in an accessible location for easy reference. Make sure that you are not coming too close to the fireplace while it is lit, and keep an eye out to all pets to avoid burns and accidents.
Lastly, you should check with your property manager or landlord to see if the fireplace is being regularly inspected and cleaned. A quality property manager will have a fireplace serviced periodically to ensure that it is in good working condition and ventilating correctly. To stay safe, it is crucial to know that pilot lights, valves, and sensors are working correctly and that you know how to operate your fireplace correctly. If your landlord gives you materials on fire safety, read through them carefully before attempting to use your fireplace. For tenants, following proper fireplace safety is an integral part of keeping you and your properties out of harm’s way.
Are you tired of doing it yourself? Why not give Real Property Management Greater Madison Metro a call? It doesn’t matter if you own one rental home or several, our aim is to protect and maximize your real estate investment. Backed by over 30 years of nationwide experience, our team of Waunakee property managers is here to help rental home owners maximize rental income while minimizing expenses and inefficiencies. Contact us online or give us a call at 608-310-1290 today.
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