Fireplaces seem to be an iconic part of the winter season. They’re one of the coziest ways to warm up in the winter time, and they’re a sentimental part of many holiday memories too. This makes them particularly attractive in real estate. Whether you’re looking at a home with a wood stove or a natural gas fireplace, here are a few things to consider for insurance and safety purposes.
While fireplaces are generally sought after, they carry extra risk for home safety. If you are successful in purchasing a property with a fireplace, you will need to inform your insurance provider that the home has a fireplace installed. You may have to pay extra to insure a home with a fireplace, so it’s something you’ll want to ask about when you’re shopping for home insurance.
Most insurance companies will require a WETT inspection, which stands for Wood Energy Technology Transfer. WETT inspections are designed to promote safe use of fireplaces. There are different levels of inspection, so check with your insurance provider to make sure you’re getting the right level of inspection for their coverage.
The inspection itself will check for dents, obstructions, and anything else that will prevent your fireplace from operating safely. Home inspectors are not required to look for defects in the chimney, so you will need to hire a qualified chimney inspector separately unless your home inspector has their WETT certification. If you already own a home and are thinking about having a fireplace installed, you should also notify your insurance provider and get your fireplace properly inspected. Failing to do so can void your coverage, should anything happen to your property as a result of the fireplace.
Another thing to think about when you’re looking at a property with a fireplace is yearly maintenance. Depending on your insurance provider, you may need a yearly inspection to continue insuring your property, but even if your provider doesn’t, it’s still a good idea. Fireplaces, especially wood burning ones, can easily build up creosote, which is a main cause of chimney fires. A yearly inspection can catch build up before it becomes a hazard.
Some insurance companies may also require carbon monoxide or smoke detectors to be installed in your home as well. Plan to install these in your home and check the batteries regularly, whether your insurance company requires it or not. Carbon monoxide has no taste, smell, or colour, and it’s deadly, so having detectors in your home can save your life if your fireplace malfunctions.
Having a fireplace can make a wonderful, charming addition to a property, provided you take the right steps to protect your investment. Making sure that your fireplace is properly inspected and insured will allow you to enjoy it safely when you need to cozy up. Following yearly maintenance will help keep your property safe for years to come. Interested to know what your home is worth? Looking to buy in the Comox Valley? We’d love to help you find your dream home. Contact us today!