Safety Guidelines to Follow, When You Own Or Operate A Farm: Heating Systems Maintenance

Monday, November 13, 2017
Posted by Tracey Scharf


For every threat of a mishap, there’s usually a simple safety measure that you can apply to eliminate or drastically reduce the possibility of an accident. However, you have to make sure you are looking in all the right places for possible pitfalls. Providing a safe home for your family and comfortable shelter for horses is very satisfying for the dedicated farm owner. While it is true that horses can survive well enough without the comforts of man-made heating and cooling, in the case of show horses or animals that need special care, the proper maintenance of an even temperature may be necessary.

The following safety tips can help you to reduce accidents and even save lives, but their effectiveness will depend on how frequently you use them – and on how well you communicate to others on your premises the importance of using them too. A successful safety program requires consistent supervision and planning. While these checklists do not take the place of the advice given by fire and police departments, utility specialists, and other trained professionals, they will provide suggestions for what to look for and how to establish your own safety program.

1. Wood burning stoves and flues should be professionally installed and cleaned annually. Chimneys and flues should be replaced as needed. All should meet code requirements.

2. Regular heating system in home and barn should be cleaned and checked by a professional every year. Any problems or failure of the system should be given immediate attention.

3. Portable heaters should be used only as a temporary source of heat and checked for proper maintenance. Portable heaters should not be used in barns near animals or combustibles, and should be vented properly. Older models should not be used. Newer brand name versions with instruction manuals are recommended. Instructions should be kept in an easily accessible place. Never use "homemade" heaters.

4. Woodstoves should be checked for creosote build-up and cleaned annually.

5. All combustibles should have at least 36 inch clearance from stoves and portable heaters.

6. Confirm any professional contractor you use has proper insurance coverage before using them.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, “Many fires can be prevented through proper maintenance and proper use of heating equipment.” If you take care of your furnace, boiler, and chimney yearly you shouldn’t encounter a problem. How do you go about doing this? Schedule your yearly maintenance on the furnace or boiler with a certified HVAC company. Over time, dust, debris, and other combustibles build up inside your furnace or boiler. Have you ever noticed a burning smell when you first start up the heating system? That is the smell of these combustibles burning up. The longer your system goes without proper maintenance, the harder it has to work. This can take a toll on your system, and it is what often leads to a malfunction in the system.

In regards to the chimney, many people assume that all is working well. However, over time the constant heating up and cooling down causes the inside of the chimney to degrade, and the bricks and mortar can easily catch fire. A technician will do an inspection of the chimney or flue.

Besides saving lives and protecting property, using these guidelines can help you qualify for lower insurance premiums. Insurance costs less for people who use safety guidelines because they have fewer losses. While safety can help you save money on your premium, insurance remains a necessity for every farm and business. Liability and property coverage help to protect your assets and keep you in business in the event of a loss. Markel can provide this protection.

HorsesDaily's Mary Phelps (mary@horsesdaily.com) is a Markel Equine Insurance Specialist and CSR Tracey Scharf (tracey@horsesdaily.com) provide the personal attention needed to help make the lives of their clients smooth and easy when it comes to the process of insuring your Farm, business and equine mortality needs. While Mary travels to the shows and barns, you can count on Tracey in the office to be available to answer questions and manage the details with ease. 1-800-572-3286.