As we have discussed in previous articles there are a lot of families turning to wood stoves for an economical way to heat there home. With this trend of the increasing use of wood stoves I thought it would be a good idea to list ten suggestions for how to have safe wood burning stoves in your home.
Safe Wood Burning Stoves, Top 10 Suggestions:
- Have your stove installed by a NFI (National Fireplace Institute) certified technician. These technicians have gone through quite a bit of training to get this title. They also have annual requirements to maintain it. This does not guarantee a perfect installation but it definitely is a step towards having safe wood burning stoves. You can click on the link above and type in your zip code to find someone in your area.
- Probably the least well known and the most important is to burn dry seasoned wood and burn a hot fire. If you burn wet wood the fire will not burn as cleanly. The stove and chimney will get dirty. That creosote buildup is what will eventually ignite and cause a chimney fire. Your door glass on the front of the stove is a great indicator of how dirty the chimney is getting. Dirty black glass = dirty black chimney, and vice-versa.
- Keep everything back away from the stove. (Stacks of wood, curtains, furniture, etc. etc.)
- Put a smoke detector in the room with the wood stove, and test regularly.
- When removing ashes, put into METAL container with a lid and put outside immediately. It is amazing how long that hot coals can hide snuggled all down into those ashes.
- Have the chimney cleaned/inspected by a qualified chimney sweep once per year. This is the best prevention step you can do because I good chimney sweep can see issues before they happen and help you correct them.
- Read your owners manual! Even if you are having a professional install your stove, you need to read your owners manual double check all clearances to combustibles and read the manufacturer’s recommendations for proper operations. Each stove is a little different and even if you have had safe wood burning stoves all of your life I still recommend reading the manual.
- Another huge point to having safe wood burning stoves is to GET THE RIGHT SIZE! Too many people out there are used to having a big firebox. Where I can “Stuff a 22 inch piece of wood into” These new efficient wood stoves are a lot more efficient and use a lot smaller piece of wood to heat the same or larger area. One of the most common problems I see is that people tend to want to size their new wood stove by the size of wood that it holds rather than the square footage of their house. This becomes a big problem and leads back into #2. Even if you have dry, seasoned wood and the stove you bought is way too big it will be very hard for you to burn the stove at the proper temperature and blow yourself out of a 90 degree house.
- Be very careful with children around wood stoves. You should train them when they are young that wood stoves are hot and hurt when you touch them. If you do not teach them how to be safe and respect a fire, then it will be inevitable there will be an accident. You can’t watch them 100% of the time so teach them well. That is the only way to own a safe wood burning stove if you have children.
- If you are installing yourself, do not “cut corners”. This is your families safety you are talking about, having safe wood burning stoves in your home is the only way to do it. Make sure the clearances in front of the door are correct, along with all the clearances to combustibles easily met. It is not worth the risk.
Well thank you for reading my Top 10 suggestions for SAFE WOOD BURNING STOVES! If I could add one more thing it would be to use common sense in all your wood burning. That may be the one thing we are missing most in our world today!
The Stove Guy