Those of us who have a wood stove or fireplace need to be mindful of many of the same safety issues. Below are a few important tips to be considered.
Probably, the least thought of but the most important thing to remember is to have your chimney cleaned and inspected. At least once a year is recommended, especially if you are burning soft wood such as pine or spruce. All wood should be seasoned for at least one year. Properly seasoned wood burning at the correct temperature helps keep creosote from accumulating too quickly on the chimney walls.
Using magnetic thermometers is another important tip for wood stove or fireplace safety. The thermometer attaches on the outer surface of the metal chimney wall which to show the proper temperature of the fireplace or wood stove. Wood burned between 100 degrees and 250 degrees leaves to much creosote. Burning wood between 250 degrees to 460 degrees is the optimum temperature to use. Temperatures higher than 460 degrees increases the chance of a chimney fire.
Keep firewood or any other flammable material away from the fireplace or wood stove. If it gets to hot, it can ignite.
Keep a fire extinguisher close by for any emergency.
When lighting the wood, using kindling, newspaper or fat wood can help. Do not use gasoline or other flammable liquids. Always make sure the damper is open.
A glass door or full screen in front of a fireplace is a must to prevent embers from popping out onto the floor surface.
Two other important safety devices besides the fire extinguisher are carbon monoxide alarms and smoke alarms. Several alarms should be installed and maintained outside sleeping areas.
Teach young children about the dangers of a fireplace or wood stove before an accident occurs. Work with all members of your family in creating escape routes out of your home
When it becomes necessary to clean out the ashes of your wood stove or fireplace, do not put ashes in a cardboard box, paper bag or plastic bag Put your ashes in a metal container with a lid. Using a metal container with a lid allows the ashes to cool if there happens to be some warm embers. The metal container should be placed on a non-flammable surface outside.
There’s nothing more comforting than watching a fire through a glass door on a wood stove or through a screen in front of a fireplace. It is even more enjoyable when you know that your family and home is safe by following these safety tips.