Home-heating safety

Be safe while staying warm

Be sure your wood stove and chimney are in good condition.  Make sure your stove does not have any cracks or other defects. Check your stove exhaust pipe. Over time and use the metal becomes  rusted and weak. Look for rust, holes, or other defects.

Have your chimney cleaned regularly and, if in doubt of its condition, have it inspected by a qualified mason or chimney swift.  A cracked or damaged chimney could allow smoke, carbon monoxide, and other gasses to enter your house and allow creosote to build up between the high temperature liner and the structure of the chimney. In the event of a chimney fire, this creosote itself will burn and transmit intense heat to surrounding materials. This usually results in a "structure fire."

Allow at least 36" clearance around the stove from combustible materials, including stacked-up fire wood. This holds true for the area around the cleanout door for your chimney. The cleanout door is relatively thin cast iron and conducts heat very well. If you place combustible materials near or against the door, they can ignite if hot embers or burning creosote drops down from the chimney. We have seen this many times, with disastrous results.

Careless disposal of ashes has been a leading cause of many fires in our area. Ashes removed from a stove or fireplace should be shoveled into a heavy metal bucket with a metal lid.  They should be placed outside, away from the house and other combustible objects (dead leaves and grass are combustible objects). The ashes insulate the hot embers and the embers can stay hot for days and ignite combustibles.  Never place ashes in a paper bag or cardboard box.

As a reminder, you must obtain a building permit from the building inspector before installing a wood, coal, or pellet stove, or building or repairing a chimney.