December 2015 - Code Compliance

Fireplace & Wood Stove Safety

December 1, 2015

Many of us today use solid fuel-fired appliances as a primary heat sources inĀ our homes. Unfortunately, many people are unaware of the fire risks when heating with solid fuels. Heating fires account for 36% of residential home fires in rural areas every year. Often these fires are due to creosote buildup in chimneys and fluepipes. All home heating systems require regular maintenance to function safely and efficiently.

Keep Fireplaces and Wood Stoves Clean

  • Have your chimney or wood stove inspected and cleaned annually by a certified chimney specialist.
  • Clear the area around the hearth of debris, decorations andĀ combustible materials.
  • Make sure the fire gets enough air to ensure complete combustion and keep creosote from building up in the chimney. Otherwise creosote buildup could lead to a chimney fire.
  • Ensure that the appliance is (or was) installed by a WETT certified technician or have it inspected.

Safely Burn Fuels

  • Never use flammable liquids to start a fire.
  • Use only seasoned hardwood. Soft, moist wood accelerates creosote buildup. In pellet stoves, burn only dry, seasoned wood pellets.
  • Build small fires that burn completely and produce less smoke.
  • Never burn cardboard boxes, trash or debris in your fireplace or wood stove.
  • When building a fire, place logs at the rear of the fireplace on an adequate supporting grate.
  • Never leave a fire in the fireplace unattended. Extinguish the fire before going to bed or leaving the house.
  • Allow ashes to cool before disposing of them. Place ashes in a tightly covered metal container and keep the ash container at least 10 feet away from your home and any other nearby buildings. Never empty the ash directly into a trash can. Douse and saturate the ashes with water.