As the weather gets cooler, there is nothing cozier than curling up next to the fireplace with a cup of hot up of coffee and a good book.

Millions of people in the United States have fireplaces that they primarily use during the fall and winter to create a comfortable environment and to warm their homes. However, without the proper maintenance, a fireplace can turn from cozy to deadly in a matter of seconds.

On average over 22,000 chimney fires occur in the United States every year. That estimates to about 125 million dollars in damage to homes. Chimney fires are can be caused by stray sparks and high temperatures, however, most are caused dirty, unkept chimneys.

To prevent a chimney house-fire from happening follow these Chimney Safety Tips:    

  1. Get your chimney cleaned yearly
  2. Cut and trim all overhanging branches
  3. Install a screencap on top of chimney
  4. Monitor the flue temperature
  5. Keep the fire screen closed
  6. Let ashes cool down
  7. Dispose of ashes far away from house
  8. Never burn trash or debris
  9. Only burn dry hardwood
  10. Keep firewood at least 30 ft. away
  11. Never leave chimney unattended
Chimney Safety Tips Infographic

It is also important to make sure your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarms have batteries and are working properly. 2/3rds of fire deaths occur in homes with missing or non-functioning smoke alarms. 

Install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in every bedroom near doorways, outside each sleeping area, and on every level of your home near cooking devices and fireplaces.  

Be safe this season, follow our chimney safety tips, and remember to have your chimney professionally cleaned and maintained before it’s first use to avoid a house fire.

For more safety tips click here.


This article is furnished by California Casualty, providing auto and home insurance to educators, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and nurses. Get a quote at 1.866.704.8614 or

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