Pet doors, in and of themselves, are not a fire hazard but they can present a fire hazard depending on its location. Pet doors can allow fire to spread more easily since many home fires begin in the garage. Plus, pet doors present other safety hazards like wild animals, burglars and inclement weather.
This will be especially true if the pet door situates between the garage and the living space of the home. What adds to this is how your homeowner’s insurance policy will factor in should there ever be a fire. However, there are some things you can do with your pet door to ensure it won’t present a fire hazard or other security issues.
Table of Contents
- If a Pet Door is the Cause of a Fire, Will Homeowner’s Insurance Still Pay?
- Will a Pet Door Void an Insurance Policy?
- Are There Any Other Hazards Pet Doors Create?
- Are There Good Reasons to Install a Pet Door?
- What Is the Best Place on the House to Install a Pet Door?
- Where Shouldn’t You Install a Pet Door?
- Will a Pet Door Lower the Quality of a Fire-Rated Door or Wall?
- What Kind of Pet Door Is Better to Install?
- What Should I Do Before Installing a Pet Door to Decrease Potential Fire Hazards?
If a Pet Door is the Cause of a Fire, Will Homeowner’s Insurance Still Pay?
In the case you have a fire and the pet door causes the fire in any way, an insurer may not have any legal obligation to pay. But, this will largely depend on where the fire occurred and how it was able to massively spread throughout the house.
Will a Pet Door Void an Insurance Policy?
If you don’t tell your insuring company about any new installations of pet doors, it might void your policy. This is because there are many insurance companies that believe pet doors make a home less safe. What’s more, even if you do tell them about the pet door, it may increase your premiums.
Are There Any Other Hazards Pet Doors Create?
Aside from the potential fire hazard a pet door can present, there are other lapses in safety to consider. Burglars and home invaders will use these doors to gain easy access into your property. Some of these will even pepper spray your dog so their entry goes unabated.
Also, wildlife like snakes, wolves and possums can make their way into the door. But of course, this will depend on if it’s a swinging flap or if it closes with a locking mechanism. What’s more, for pet door that are flaps, it may allow inclement weather conditions, like rain and snow, to seep into your house.
Are There Good Reasons to Install a Pet Door?
Even with the potential security breaches and fire hazards, there are many good reasons to install a pet door. First, it makes it far more convenient for both you and your pets when they need to go outside. For instance, it’s invaluable for mature dogs so they can relieve themselves when you’re not home.
It also gives pets the ability to escape any predators that may be in the area when they’re hanging around outside.
What Is the Best Place on the House to Install a Pet Door?
In the case you still want to install a pet door for your precious furry family member, there are two places that are most ideal. You can put it into the actual garage door or into a wall.
If you choose to install it in the garage door, you can do this in a discreet way, such as in a corner. This can help prevent weather, animals and unsavory characters from entering your home. However, this means you will have to keep your pet’s area in the garage. In some cases, it may not be good to have your pet wandering around there.
You could also consider putting the pet door in a wall rather than any of the other doors leading into the home. This will be much easier to amend in the case you choose to remove the door at some later time. Plus you can put it in a strategic spot that hides it from view.
Where Shouldn’t You Install a Pet Door?
The worst place to install a pet door is in a door or wall with a fire rating. Most run-of-the-mill pet doors will ruin the integrity of the fire barrier, which can increase the chances of fire. The reason why certain doors and walls come with a fire rating is because these have a greater propensity to catch fire, such as the garage or kitchen.
Also, installing a dog door into an exterior door, interior door or within a sliding glass door can be disastrous to your frame. It can weaken it in various ways, which also adds to the security risks, exposing your home to unwanted visitors.
Will a Pet Door Lower the Quality of a Fire-Rated Door or Wall?
If you install a pet door into a fire-rated door or wall, it will lower the quality of it. This means you will lessen its ability to resist fire. What’s more, you are also putting your insurance policy at risk.
What Kind of Pet Door Is Better to Install?
If the only place you can install a pet door is in a fire-rated door or wall, the best kind of pet door will be a fire-rated one that closes with a locking mechanism. These will often comprise quality fire-retardant steel or other metal. But some have a latch that locks when your pet returns home while there are others requiring manual operation.
There are even some models that provide a sensor you can put onto your pet’s collar. When your pet comes near the door it opens, for all other situations, it will stay closed. This is desirable and will fall under qualified fire codes.
What Should I Do Before Installing a Pet Door to Decrease Potential Fire Hazards?
Before you begin buying a pet door and installing it, there are a few things you should do. First, read your homeowners insurance policy and then call the company. Ask them what they will cover if you choose to install a pet door and if they will cover the door once you install it.
Then, check with your local and state laws about fires; you may have to have someone inspect the prospective area. This includes contacting your local fire department for suggestions about a quality pet door.