Wood stoves can provide comfort and warmth during winter and for many homeowners serve as an alternate heating source.
However, using wood stoves also come with risks, that could include accidental fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.
Proper use of wood stoves can help to significantly reduce the chances of a fire breaking out in your home.
Here are some important safety checks from the New York Farm Bureau.
n Make sure the stove does not have broken parts or large cracks that make it unsafe to operate.
n Make sure a layer of sand or brick has been placed in the bottom of the firebox if suggested by the manufacturer.
n Place the stove on a floor that won’t burn, or has an approved floor protector placed under the stove.
n Floor protection should extend at least 12 inches from the sides and back of the stove, and 18 inches from the front or side where the stove is opened for loading.
n The stove should be spaced at least 36 inches away from combustible material. If not, fire-resistant material should be used to protect woodwork and other combustible materials.
n Make sure the stovepipe has no rust and is made of 22 or 24 gauge metal is used.
n The stovepipe size should not be reduced between the stove and the chimney flue.
n Make sure a damper is installed in the pipe near the stove or a damper is built into the stove.
n Make sure the total length of stove pipe is less than 10 feet.
n There should be at least 18 inches of space between the stove pipe and the ceiling post or wall that can burn.
n The chimney opening should be higher than the stove outlet, and the pipe should be straight and slope upward to the chimney.
n The stovepipe should enter the chimney horizontally through a clay fire thimble that is higher than the outlet of the stovepipe connection point.
n The fire thimble should not be in contact with combustible materials.
n The stovepipe should fit snugly into the thimble, and should not enter into the chimney flue lining. A double-walled, ventilated metal thimble is used where the stovepipe goes through any interior wall.
n The stovepipe should not pass through a floor, closet, concealing space, or enter the chimney in the attic.
n An approved (Underwriters Laboratory, Factory Mutual Laboratory, Canadian Standard Association) all fuel metal chimney should be used where a masonry chimney is not available.
n Make sure the chimney is in good repair.
n Make sure there is nothing blocking the chimney flue lining.
n The stovepipe and the chimney lining should be clean.
n Make sure a metal container with a tight fitting lid is available for ash disposal.
n The installation of the stove should be approved by your fire inspector.
n Remember to notify your insurance company that the stove has been installed.
If you answer ‘No’ for even one of these statements, you may have a serious problem. Take time to fix it now.