Wood stoves are great for home heating, as long as they are used safely.

How To Safely Operate Your Wood Stove

January 23rd, 2017 by

Wood stoves are great for home heating, as long as they are used safely.

As heating bills rise in the winter, some homeowners are on the lookout for alternative methods of staying warm. 

One way to cut down on your oil, natural gas or electricity bills is to install a wood stove. Not only will it give your home's interior an attractive, rustic look, but the fuel is also affordable – especially if you are able to use wood from your property.

Of course, like every other form of home heating, wood stoves come with their own safety issues. There's no reason why you can't operate one for years without experiencing an issue, provided you adhere to some basic rules.

  • Make sure you have the right kind of chimney. You can't just install a wood stove into any old fireplace. Some chimneys in older homes are built with single-brick construction and lack lining. If you haven't burned many fires at home before, you may not know if your chimney has deteriorated to the point where regular burning could present a safety issue.
  • Use the right fuel. Many different types of hardwood make perfectly good wood stove fuel, such as maple, beech or oak. The key is to make sure that the wood is well seasoned – meaning that it should be split and air dried for at least a year prior to burning. Burning unseasoned, or "green" wood, is difficult and can lead to flammable buildup on chimney walls.
  • Keep it clean. Even clean burning wood will still leave plenty of soot behind. It's important to remove this material from the stove and flue pipe at least once per year to make sure that it is heating your home efficiently. Just be sure that all the ashes you remove from the stove are cool to the touch – you don't want to start another fire.

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