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Wood Stove and Fireplace Safety Tips

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The following are some safety tips for using a wood stove or a fireplace.

  • Ensure the fireplace or stove is properly installed. Wood stoves should have adequate clearance (36”) from combustible surfaces and proper floor support and protection.
  • Wood stoves should be of good quality, solid construction and design, and should be UL listed.
  • The stove should be burned hot twice a day for 15-30 minutes to reduce the amount of creosote buildup.
  • Have the chimney inspected annually and cleaned if necessary, especially if it has not been used for some time.
  • Do not use flammable liquids to start or accelerate any fire.
  • Keep a glass or metal screen in front of the fireplace opening to prevent embers or sparks from jumping out, unwanted material from going in, and to help prevent the possibility of burns.
  • Do not use excessive amounts of paper to build roaring fires in fireplaces. It is possible to ignite creosote in the chimney by overbuilding the fire.
  • Keep flammable materials away from your fireplace mantle. A spark from the fireplace could easily ignite these materials.
  • Never burn charcoal indoors. Burning charcoal can give off lethal amounts of carbon monoxide.
  • Before you go to sleep, be sure your fireplace fire is extinguished. NEVER close your damper with hot ashes in the fireplace. A closed damper will help the fire to heat up again and will force toxic carbon monoxide into the house.
  • If synthetic logs are used, follow the directions on the package. NEVER break a synthetic log apart to quicken the fire or use more than one log at a time. They often burn unevenly—releasing higher levels of carbon monoxide.