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Burn Smart & Safe: Fireplace and Wood Stove Safety Tips


Safety Practices:
Keep all flammable household items such as drapes, furniture, newspaper and extra wood, far away from your fireplace or woodstove and stray sparks. If you are using a wood stove, try to keep a minimum of five feet between the stove and the nearest object. Do not use pre-manufactured logs made from wax and sawdust, which are meant for open hearth fireplaces. These will cause damage to your chimney and liner if used.

Install a smoke alarm on every floor of your home and test it regularly. You should also have a fire extinguisher and carbon monoxide detector.

Building the Fire:
Start a fire with only clean and dry kindling. Never start a fire with gasoline, kerosene or a charcoal starter.

Use seasoned wood. It lights faster, burns better and produces less smoke – which reduces creosote from building in your chimney.

Build small hot fires. A smoldering fire is not a safe or efficient fire.

Burn Safe:
Never burn green or wet wood, plywood, painted or treated wood, particleboard, cardboard boxes, wrapping paper or trash. These item release toxic chemicals when burned and contribute to creosote build-up which can lead to chimney fires.

Keep it Clean:
Regularly remove ashes from your fireplace or woodstove into a metal container with a cover.

Store the ash container outdoors on a cement or brick slab far away from your home to prevent it from being carried back to the house by wind. Never store the ash container on a wooden deck or steps.

Professionally clean your wood burning unit annually to ensure the chimney is free of creosote build-up, the flue is clear and the stove itself is in good working order.

Installation Tips for wood stoves:
Certified units burn more efficiently. They are typically labeled on the back of the stove or are clearly documented in the literature and warranty information that is supplied within the unit.

Article courtesy of Gore Mutual Insurance Company.