Grange Insurance Reminds Homeowners About Safety Precautions to Take this Autumn



The crisp air of autumn means more than just changing leaves outside. To help homeowners kick off the season on the right foot, Columbus, Ohio-based Grange Insurance has created an autumn checklist to keep families safe this fall.

  • Schedule annual furnace inspection
  • Replace smoke detector batteries
  • Inspect and/or clean chimney chutes
  • Clear clothes dryer of lint

According to Peter McMurtrie, chief claims officer for Grange Insurance, inspecting the home furnace is number one on the Grange checklist. As temperatures continue to dip, folks begin to crank up the heat. By performing a furnace inspection before use, homeowners can ensure that air is circulating properly to prevent malfunction or fire and that the furnace will be able to operate for the duration of the winter months.

“A thorough look at the condition of your furnace can prevent future problems such as malfunction or even house fires,” McMurtrie says. “Changing air filters each month will also keep your furnace in tip-top shape to keep you and your family warm all winter long.”

Furnace accidents can happen even when the best preparation is made, McMurtrie says. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission states that there are more than 500,000 residential fires in the United States each year, many of which can occur when heating systems are activated during the colder months. To combat these stats, McMurtrie suggests ensuring that smoke detectors are operational at all times. New batteries should be added to smoke detectors prior to furnace ignition and changed every six months.

“Survival during a house fire increases by about 50 percent if the home has a functioning smoke detector,” McMurtrie says. “It’s crucial that homeowners make sure smoke detectors are working at all times.”

Because fire safety should always be top of mind, chimney care comes in next on the Grange checklist. McMurtrie says fireplaces and chimneys should always be cleaned before first use and maintained throughout the cold months. When a fire is ignited, smoke filters through the chimney. Wood smoke contains high amounts of material that can condense into a substance called creosote and adhere to the interior of the chimney chute. If there is enough buildup, sparks from the fireplace can ignite the creosote and create an uncontrolled fire in the chimney.

“Because the interior of the chimney isn’t an area of the home that families openly see, homeowners must make a conscious effort to always keep chimneys free of creosote,” McMurtrie says. “By doing so, you’ll keep the flames under your control.”

Laundry safety comes in as the final tip on the Grange checklist. Before placing washed clothing into the dryer, always confirm that lint filters have been cleared for the next cycle. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are an estimated 15,500 fires annually associated with clothes dryers. When lint blocks the flow of air, increased heat build-up can cause a fire in some dryers.

By following this autumn checklist, residents can ensure a safe and enjoyable experience through autumn and well into the winter months.

To learn more about how Grange can help you stay safe this season, contact Kasmer Insurance for more information (330) 533-3301 or email us.

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