HRC Insurance Blog

Woodstove/Fireplace Safety

Have you started your woodstove or fireplace up yet this year? With these cold nights there is nothing better than curling up by a fire and having a cozy night. With fireplaces and woodstoves, though it brings warmth, it also brings out many new concerns and hazards. We must think about chimney fires, building codes, smoke alarms, fire extinguishers and proper operating procedures.

Chimney and sootF2400-D-610x3401.jpg

Chimneys range in size and shapes but all have one thing in common, they must be cleaned regularly! Now regularly you may ask is that once a day or once a year? The proper cleaning procedure recommends an inspection once a year with average to heavy use. Try and avoid burning cardboard and paper in your woodstove as it is a large contributor to soot build up as well as increasing the odds of a chimney fire if soot has already built up. It is also recommended that you keep the soot and ashes cleaned out to prevent coals from rolling out onto the floor of your home.

Smoke alarms

Smoke alarms save lives! They may seem like a pain trying to keep up with the battery changing but it's well worth it. Smoke alarms have cut fire related deaths by 90 percent in the past 50 years. Keep your home safe with active and up to date smoke alarms.

Fire extinguisher

Fire extinguishers are always good to have near a fireplace or woodstove as there is always the risk of a fire images.jpgfrom coals rolling out or any small fire to start somewhere. Having one handy is never a bad idea even if it helps with a fire in the kitchen or around the house.

Other Concerns

When operating a woodstove or fireplace, we must also think about building codes, attendance and also proper loading procedures. Building codes may differ depending on the unit size make and model but most have detailed instructions on the back to ensure you have the correct clearances. Having a fireplace or wood stove can add a lot of heat to your home but stoking your fireplace or woodstove and then going out for the day opens the door for many risks to occur. Loading procedures may seem simple, but making sure the wood is away from the front so hot coals will not come out onto the floor is very important.


Keeping these simple tips in mind the next time you cosy up by the fire will not only protect your largest asset, but it will create safety within your home so no one gets hurt. Stay warm this winter and be prepared for anything that could happen!

Since the 1900's...

Born under the name George Hutcheson, Hutcheson, Reynolds & Caswell Ltd. began providing insurance policies in Muskoka since the early 1900s. Bernard Reynolds joined the firm in the 1940s and purchased the firm from George Hutcheson in 1967. Finally, in 1980, David Caswell joined the company's ranks to complete Hutcheson, Reynolds and Caswell. We have grown along with our name and provide the same dedication to superior customer service and top-notch insurance coverage that George Hutcheson was famous for over 100 years ago.