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Most houses nowadays are warmed by a furnace but some have wood fireplaces and wood stoves as an alternative heating source. Some houses may just have wood burners as the only way to warm their house. These more simple ways of heating your home can provide that comfort and warmth during winter compared to a gas furnace. However, using wood stoves also presents risks, such as accidental fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. Keep a fire extinguisher handy. A portable fire extinguisher can help you to quickly put out a small fire. Ensure your home is equipped with smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms. Install them outside each bedroom and on every level of the home. To minimize those risks, follow these 4 wood burner safety tips:

  1. It is not recommended to store your firewood in wet places as the wood will absorb a lot of the moisture around it. Inside of garages or in wood sheds are best as they allow for air to pass through keeping the firewood dry. Place your wood stove on a floor pad at least three feet away from walls, furniture, curtains, and other flammable material. Similarly, keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from the stove.

  2. Before the heating season begins, have your chimney, flue vents, and stove inspected and cleaned by a certified chimney sweep. As a DIY task, check latches, hinges, and gaskets regularly, and keep an eye out for damage. Remove ashes regularly (every 3-5 burns or once a week) and dispose of them safely. Let ashes cool (as they can contain live coals) before discarding them in a covered metal container. Keep the container outside, 10 or more feet away from your home and other buildings.

  3. Burn only dry, seasoned wood, such as maple, beech, ash, hickory or oak. Don’t burn green wood, cardboard or trash to prevent creosote buildup in your chimney flue. Never use gasoline, charcoal starter fluid or other flammable liquids to start your fire or to increase the intensity of the fire. These substances might explode or flare up.

  4. Do not leave small children unattended around open fireplaces or wood-burning stoves for even 5 seconds. That’s just enough time for them to test how hot fire is by putting their hand into the fire causes serious burns which may require an emergency room visit. Teach them to stay at least three feet away from a hot stove. Don’t allow pets near the stove, either.

Here are some principal do’s and don’ts:

DO—make sure there is enough clearance between the stove and combustible materials, including floors, walls, and ceilings. DO—place the stove on a noncombustible, fire-resistant base. DO—have a person inspect the chimney. DO—burn only dry, well-seasoned wood. DO—consider opening a window a crack for ventilation. DO—dispose of ashes in a closed metal container outside the house.

DON’T—extend the stove pipe through a wall or ceiling unless there is no possible alternative. DON’T—connect a wood stove to a fireplace chimney unless the fireplace has been sealed off. DON’T—connect a wood stove to a chimney serving another appliance burning other fuels. DON’T—start a stove fire with flammable fluids, such as gasoline. DON’T—burn trash in a stove; doing so can start a chimney fire. DON’T—let a wood fire full logs unattended or overnight. Some residual wood or ashes burning with the right circumstances is fine.

Let Blue River Restoration be the friend to help you out so tragic accidents do not happen.

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