Even though wood stoves provide an old fashioned sense of comfort, they bring several dangers with them. When purchasing and installing a wood stove, it is important to be thorough in your selection process. Whether you are buying a used or new heating system, make sure it is safe to use. If you are planning on purchasing one, make sure it is made out of a sturdy material such as cast iron or steel. If you are buying a used one, carefully check for cracks and other defects.
Before you install or light your wood stove, it should be properly inspected and certified. Check with a certified professional to meet the proper regulations in the following areas:
- Fire and building codes
- Chimney/ Flue guidelines (location, lining and length)
- Floor mounting of your stove
- Stove pipe
Once your wood stove is properly installed and checked, the next step is understanding what kind of wood to use. For your stove, it is recommended that you use hard wood. According to the University of Maine Extension Service, woods such as apple and beech have the best heating values. Other recommended woods are red oak, sugar maple, and ironwood. Using the proper wood will prevent the buildup of creosote which can lead to potential dangers.
Once you have your wood, it is important to build a safe and sustainable fire. Remember to always build the fire on a shallow bed of ashes, which provides a heat reflecting surface. Use a small amount of crumpled paper and cover it with a few small sticks of wood fuel before adding larger pieces. If the fire burns too slowly, the draft louvers and the damper above the stove pipe of the stove should be opened. Adjusting the draft and adding frequent but small amounts of wood will help keep your fire going. As a gentle reminder, you should never use kerosene or other flammable liquids in your wood stove.
If you are planning on using a wood stove this winter, make sure that your home is properly covered. Please contact OceanPoint Insurance at 401-847-5200 if you have any questions about coverages.
*Information for this blog provided by the Insurance Information Institute