RE/MAX 440
John F. O'Hara

John F. O'Hara
731 W Skippack Pike  Blue Bell  PA 19422
Phone:  610-277-4060
Office:  215-643-3200
Cell:  267-481-1786
Fax:  267-354-6973

My Blog

4 Reasons Not to Be Your Own Chimney Sweep

August 13, 2015 2:09 am

Most homeowners who own a home with a fireplace don’t need professional help to build a fire. Maintaining the fireplace and chimney, however, is best left to the experts, according to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). If you’ve forgone an annual chimney inspection, consider these famous “last words” by do-it-yourself chimney sweeps.

“I’ve swept my own chimney for 25 years and we’ve been fine.”

Many homeowners don’t realize that a very thin, combustible layer of glazed creosote can build up over time. A qualified professional, such as those certified by the CSIA, has the knowledge to identify and the tools needed to remove this dangerous byproduct.

“That crack has been there for years! It’ll be okay.”

When a flue liner is cracked, these cracks open during the heating phase and may allow heat to be transferred to vulnerable chimney walls. One of the important functions of the flue lining is to serve as an insulator between the hot flue gases and the chimney wall.

“I heat with gas. I don’t need to have my chimney swept.”

Qualified professionals do so much more than simply run a brush up the flue. A CSIA-certified chimney sweep will identify and help address operational inefficiencies, installation or venting issues and provide needed maintenance.

“If I start a chimney fire, I’ll burn out all of the creosote.”

Chimney fires are no casual manner. Chimney fires can melt mortar, crack tiles, cause liners to collapse and damage the outer masonry material. Most often, tiles crack and mortar is displaced, which provides a pathway for flames to reach the wood frame of the house. One chimney fire may not harm a home, but a second can burn it down.

Source: CSIA

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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Renting a Vacation Home? Consider Travel Insurance

August 13, 2015 2:09 am

As vacation rental sites like Airbnb and VRBO grow in popularity, new questions have arisen about how this type of expense can be insured. According to travel insurance comparison site Squaremouth, travel insurance coverage can apply to accommodation rentals in the following ways.

Vacation rentals often have a strict cancellation policy, sometimes offering little to no reimbursement, regardless of the reason for cancellation. Fortunately for travelers, the cost of rentals can be covered under a travel insurance policy, including any associated deposits, expenses and cancellation fees. The standard trip cancellation reasons still apply to travelers insuring a rental property. Common covered reasons include illness of a traveler, their family member, or weather preventing the trip. In the event of a claim, the traveler will need to show proof of their rental and their out-of-pocket expenses.

"In most cases, your email confirmation from your rental will suffice if it includes what you paid, your lodging dates, and any penalties you would incur if you cancelled," says Squaremouth Zero Complaint Manager Brandi Morse. Morse also says that the traveler must formally cancel their stay. “The first step of the claim would be to cancel with the owner of the rental property.”

Despite the benefits of choosing a rental property over other accommodations, travelers may feel they are sacrificing the reliability that comes with an established hotel.

"A common concern of travelers who choose a rental property is that the accommodations will be insufficient, different than were advertised, or the rental is a scam altogether," says Squaremouth Director of Marketing Megan Singh.

Unfortunately, these concerns are never covered reasons to cancel or interrupt a trip under a standard travel insurance policy. Even the catch-all 'cancel for any reason' policies can't offer help in these situations, as they require a trip to be cancelled days before reaching the destination.

"Situations that come down to fear or fraud typically aren't going to be covered under a travel insurance policy," Singh explains. "If that is a traveler's primary concern, it may not be worth the price of the policy."

Source: Squaremouth

Published with permission from RISMedia.


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