Wood stoves add a coziness attribute to any home while also giving heat during the cold winter months. Reducing overall heating costs is also appealing as a selling point.
However, even the best wood-burning stoves can be dangerous if you do not take the right precautions. The following are a few dos and don’ts to make wood burning stoves safe.
- Use Dry wood for the stove. At most, moisture should be 20%
- Sweep the chimney regularly
- Stack the logs in a way they are ventilated
- Fit a carbon monoxide alarm for health reasons, so it does not reach dangerous levels.
- If the wood stove is too powerful or old, you may want to replace it with a more efficient option
- When you bring the wood stove to temperature, try keeping it there.
- Do not use large logs for the wood stove. They should be four to six inches in length or 150 mm in diameter
- Do not burn the wood on open fires in smoke control areas
- Do not close off the air to ‘slumber’ the fuel overnight
- Do not try to fit or change any part of the fuel system yourself. It’s easy to get things wrong.
- Do not burn plastic waste or treated waste wood. The fumes can be toxic.
Selecting the right stove
Go for a wood stove made out of durable material like steel or cast iron. The proportions of the stove are dependent on how the size of the room you want to place it in. If it is a used stove, it must be in good condition, which means zero physical defects.
Cracks and other deformities could also be a fire hazard. The wood stove installer will inform you of these issues and help you get a stove that is up to code.
Maintenance is essential
Cleaning and disposal of ashes need to be done regularly with the wood burning stove. When you are done with the wood stove and the ashes have cooled down, they can be put in a container. On the other hand, wet ashes make good optimal polish if you have some tarnished silver.
Once the ashes have been removed, use wire brushes to clean a wood-burning stove. That helps minimize creosote build-up, which can start a chimney fire in large amounts.
The wood burning stoves ought to be placed on reinforced flooring. If you are building the cabin from scratch, this can be incorporated into the design stages. Though if it is a retroactive fitting, the flooring has to be appropriate.
It needs to be able to endure the weight of a wood stove and should be made from non-combustible materials. That prevents a scenario where stray sparks ignite the floor.
One of the main wood stove safety tips is checking with the local authorities to make certain it complies with the local building codes. While you can learn how to install a wood stove, it is better installed by a professional. That will ensure the job is done the first time properly, thus preventing any accidental fires and unnecessary waste.
You get the assurance that the expert will adhere to the municipal code, not to mention the clearance distance from combustibles. The stove also needs to be inspected regularly by a professional.
There will be a chimney sweep for ash and accumulation of creosote during this time. Springtime is a good season as well to service the stove as it would be a less busy time for installers and chimney sweeps. It is especially important that you know how to use a wood stove.
Keep an eye on the stove
A burning wood stove should not be left unsupervised like any controlled fire. The door on the stove may come with a false sense of security, of course, but even in enclosed settings, the fire can become unmanageable.
Wood stove safety mandates that it should not be neglected for long. Fires can often be unpredictable though even serious incidents can be stopped if they are intercepted immediately. There are times when the fire begins to grow beyond what you are comfortable with. Use the dampers if this happens and seal the wood stove door to starve the fire of air flow.
Prevention of heat damage
As opposed to fireplaces, wood burning stoves heat bigger areas and bring more warmth from each side. You would be better off installing a heat shield beside the stove to prevent the carpet, nearby walls, and the clothes from being damaged by the heat.
Manufacturers also usually state how much wood needs to be in the firebox at any one time. Each of the stoves has also been structured to burn a specific amount of wood. The maximum output of the stove fire needs to be within the safety limits, and it has been designed this way so there is limited heat damage to the building.
Keep the children away
Monitor the children when they are around wood stoves. Do not leave any unattended around the stove, even for a second. It is enough time to be curious and seriously burn themselves. They could get too close, and a spark may jump on them, or they may put their hands into the fire.
Most toddlers also have no idea how to handle flames by dropping and rolling, so they are especially vulnerable. The same caution also extends to family pets though animals tend to be warier of fire.
A discussion on wood stove safety is not complete without talking about ventilation. Carbon monoxide can build up if the environment does not facilitate good ventilation. It can be prevented, of course, by making sure there are outlets in the wood-burning area.
Carbon monoxide detection is also essential since the gas is unnoticeable and potentially fatal. Sudden feelings of nausea and headache are common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning if you have a wood stove . Prolonged exposure then leads to death.