A Fire Hazard in Your Basement Finishing Project and the Insurance You Need to Protect Against It

Your basement finishing project is intended to be a comfortable place for your family to enjoy for years to come. In some cases, you may have a son or daughter who will have a new bedroom in the basement, or at the very least you may create a bedroom for visitors to enjoy when the come see you.

Whatever the case, there are a couple of potential safety issues that you should know about before you commence the basement finishing efforts.

The main issue that we’ll discuss in this article is a fire safety issue. Your furnace and hot water heater are likely fueled by natural gas. While this method of heating your home and water is proven and reliable, there still is the potential for a hazard to you and your family.

When your house was originally built, the furnace and hot water heater were placed in the basement to keep them away from you and your family. Your home was constructed so that fire would have a harder time transferring from your basement to your first floor.

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Your basement finishing project will bring you and your family into closer contact with this potential fire hazard and you’ll no longer have the protection of your floor to slow the advancement of the fire.

However, proper basement finishing will create a new barrier between you and the fire hazard. First, you should have a separate furnace room, complete with fire-rated drywall and fire-blocking to keep fire from transferring to other sections of the basement.

Second, you should require your basement finishing contractor to install a self-closing weather-stripped door that is fire-rated for 20 minutes. This accomplishes a few things.

First, because it is self-closing, you can get one over on Murphy’s Law by assuring there won’t be that “one time when we forgot to close the door.” Second, the weather stripping will help to keep the air you breathe in your basement finishing project separate from the air the furnace uses. Finally, the door (usually a weak point in preventing fire) will now withstand a blaze for at least 20 minutes, which will give you the needed time to react to a life-threatening situation.

While the probability that a fire will occur in your basement is small, the possibility still exists. Taking simple precautions will give your family a better chance of escaping without harm in the unlikely event that a hazard does occur. It’s cheap insurance to protect the people you love.

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