Wood Burning Stove Safety Tips
Posted on: 1st April 2019
Wood burning stoves can be an idyllic way to keep warm in the colder months. The idea of sitting in front of a crackling stove is a lovely one, and if you’ve got a wood-burning stove then you’ll know first-hand how good they can be. However, although it looks beautiful and creates a fantastic ambience in any room, you’re still dealing with fire, and that means that there are a number of safety considerations to keep in mind.
The installation of a wood burning stove must be done to the letter. Firstly, it’s recommended that your stove is installed by a competent and qualified professional to ensure it’s fitted safely first time.
Any wood burning stove or furnace must meet the minimum requirements for distance/clearance between all combustible materials and the front, side, back, top and bottom of the stove. Without a safe clearance, the heat produced by the stove could penetrate through to combustibles that are close by, which could cause a fire.
It is of fundamental importance that your wood burning stove is inspected at least once a year as part of its maintenance. This must be done by a professional chimney sweep, who will check for creosote accumulation, cracks, ash and even bird nests.
Worryingly, creosote buildup in the chimney and flue pipe is a common cause of house fires, only highlighting the importance of an annual inspection even further. The best time to have an inspection carried out is during spring, when chimney sweeps and stove installers are less busy.
Preventing heat damage
Wood burning stoves, unlike the average fireplace, can heat much larger areas a lot faster. Its powerful heat expulsion could cause heat damage to objects that are (not too) close by. To prevent this, try installing a heat shield next to or behind your stove. It’s also imperative that your stove is set on a non-combustible surface, such as a tile floor to help reduce incidents of fire.
Ensuring sufficient ventilation
If your wood burning stove doesn’t have adequate ventilation, there’s an increased risk of carbon monoxide buildup or poisoning. To help prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, ensure you install carbon monoxide detectors and seek medical help if you feel nauseous or experience debilitating headaches.
The vent, which is not the same as the chimney, must be as short as possible with no more than 2 right angle elbows. Stovepipe sections should be fastened with a minimum of 3 sheet-metal screws or fasteners and the seams must overlap and face up on inclined runs. A stovepipe must never pass through an interior wall, floor or ceiling. Nor should it be used as a substitute for a chimney.
Where possible, an insulated stovepipe must be fitted directly into a lined masonry. If your stovepipe passes through an exterior wall to reach the chimney, ensure there’s an 18-inch (minimum) clearance to all combustibles and consult fire codes.
Starting a fire
Prior to lighting the stove, ensure the damper is open to allow for good airflow and leave open until the fire is out and the ashes have cooled. You must never use petrol, kerosene, charcoal lighter fluid or wrapping paper to start or rekindle your fire. Using highly flammable substances could cause fireballs, resulting in the accumulation of combustible materials in the chimney. When starting or rekindling a fire with wood, avoid painted, treated or wet wood as it could release harmful fumes into the air. Only use dry wood.
There are many safety aspects to consider before purchasing and when using a wood burning stove. Ensure you’ve installed smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors as an absolute minimum. Always supervise small, curious children and educate them on how to behave around open fires. Enhance the point that they’re extremely dangerous and can do tremendous harm to both objects and people if the rules aren’t adhered to.
Accidents are more likely to occur when someone is intoxicated. Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol can slow reaction times, cause nausea and negatively affect your ability to make decisions and judgements. It’s important that you avoid the consumption of alcohol or debilitating substances before you light the fire and of course, while it’s alite. Additionally, never go to sleep or leave the house while the fire is still burning.
Rotherham Fireplace Centre is one of the leading suppliers of gas and electric fires in the South Yorkshire area. With over 30 years of experience, we’re proud to offer quality fireplaces, along with excellent customer service. You can view our entire range by visiting our showroom on the Eastwood Trading Estate. Get in touch today for more information or pay us visit at your leisure – we operate in Rotherham, Sheffield, Barnsley, Doncaster and the surrounding areas.