Area News

Stay Warm, Stay Protected

It’s that time of year again! Start prepping you, your family and your home for another Michigan winter.

No matter how you plan to stay warm this season, you can count on us to provide you security in knowing your home is protected, and you can help. Call our office to make sure we are aware of any solid fuel units in your home. This includes fireplace inserts. Even if you have done so in the past; it is important to notify your agent if you are using an insert to ensure proper protection. This will help you prevent a higher deductible charge in the event of a solid fuel heater or solid fuel fireplace insert fire-related claim.

Here are some additional tips to help you prepare:

Heating With a Solid Fuel (Corn, Pellets, etc.) Stove

  • Have your stove and chimney inspected and cleaned.
  • Make sure your stove or insert is properly installed and UL approved.
  • If your stove burns wood, use only seasonal wood for fuel, not green wood, artificial logs, or trash.
  • Inspect your pipes monthly for damage or obstructions and, if you find any, get it repaired and cleaned immediately.
  • Keep combustible objects three feet away from your wood stove.

Electric Space Heaters

  • Buy only heaters with the Underwriter's Laboratory (UL) safety listing.
  • Make sure the heater has a thermostat control mechanism, and will switch off automatically if the heater falls over.
  • Heaters should not be used as dryers or tabletops; don't dry clothes or store objects on top of the heater.
  • Remember space heaters need space; keep combustibles at least three feet away and unplug if the heater is not in use.

Kerosene Heaters

  • Buy only heaters with the Underwriter's Laboratory (UL) safety listing.
  • Never fill your heater with gasoline or camp stove fuel; both flare up easily. Only use crystal clear K-1 kerosene, and never overfill.
  • Only use in a well ventilated room.

Using Your Fireplace

If your home is heated with a furnace, don’t forget to have it inspected and cleaned.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration (USFA), more homes burn in winter than at any other time of the year, which result in an average of 945 deaths, 3,825 injuries, and $1.7 billion in property losses each year. Thirty-six percent of those fires are caused by heating accidents.

Let’s do all we can to prevent a fire this winter and to keep our homes and our families safe and warm here in Michigan. Make sure you have a UL listed fire extinguisher accessible in your home. Install smoke detectors on every level of your home; and test them monthly. It is also a good idea to map out an emergency escape route and practice until everyone can get out of the house in under two minutes.

To learn more about heating with solid fuels, please download our Wood Heat: The Safe Way brochure, which was prepared in conjunction with Lansing Community College’s Fire Safety School.

  • Since fireplaces regularly build up creosote in their chimneys, have your chimneys cleaned frequently and inspected for obstructions and cracks.
  • Check to make sure the damper is open before starting any fire. Never burn trash, paper or green wood in your fireplace.
  • Use a screen heavy enough to stop rolling logs and big enough to cover the entire opening of the fireplace to catch flying sparks.
  • Never wear loose-fitting clothes near any open flame and make sure the fire is completely out before leaving the house or going to bed.
  • Store cooled ashes in a tightly sealed metal container outside the home.

Related News