- Fire Department
- Wood Stove Safety
Wood Stove Safety
All wood stoves and furnaces require minimum distances or clearance from the sides, top, bottom, back and front of the stove as well as all combustible materials. Poor clearance can cause a serious fire caused by the stove’s heat penetrating nearby combustibles. Please follow the listed manufactured instructions as well as any building code requirements during your installation.
Chimneys for wood burning stoves must be masonry or UL-listed and factory built. A single brick, unlined chimney should never be used for a wood stove as they are prone to deterioration and will cause seriously dangerous situations to arise.
Factory built, metal chimneys, must never be used with a coal stove as corrosive flue gases produced by the coal fire will cause the metal chimney to deteriorate rapidly. Discoloration of a metal chimney indicates a possible breakdown of the material insulating the chimney and should be inspected and replaced immediately.
Never connect a wood burning stove to a wood stove flue that vents an oil burner. Vapors from the oil burner can back up into the stove and fill a room with deadly vapors.
90% of all stove-related fires are caused due to the venting system. Venting is not a chimney but instead consists of a minimum of 24-gauge insulated stovepipe that connects to the stove to an approved chimney. Vents must be as short as possible, with no more than 2 right angle elbows. Stovepipe sections should be assembled with crimped male ends. These sections must be facing down towards the stove and they must be fastened with a minimum of 3 sheet-metal screws or other type of approved fasteners. Any seams must face up and overlap on inclined runs.
Stovepipe clearance must never pass through an interior wall, ceiling or floor. Stovepipe should never be used for chimney as it’s elements will rust. Insulated stovepipe should go directly into a lined masonry or UL-listed factory built chimney. If any stovepipe must pass through an exterior wall to reach a chimney a minimum clearance of 18 inches must be maintained from all combustibles. Please consult fire and building codes.
Operation and Maintenance
- Always use the proper fuel. The best wood burning fuel are hardwoods such as maple, beech, ash and oak.
- Regularly clean your stovepipe and chimney at least once a year with a wire brush. Never use use heavy chemicals.
- Avoid creosote buildup. Creosote can be a sticky liquid that will run down the chimney or stove pip; it can be a flaky black deposit easily removed with wire brushing; or it can be hard, glazed tar which is nearly impossible to remove without professional help.