Make sure your stove is in compliance with fire codes!

Safety tips for averting fires with wood-burning stoves

June 16th, 2015 by admin

Make sure your stove is in compliance with fire codes!

While wood stoves are ultimately safe, they are liable to spark and spit which present a fire hazard that cannot be controlled or predicted. That is why a lot of insurance companies will have strict guidelines for them in the insurance policy or will at least place a hefty surcharge on the annual cost of your home insurance. Although they are cozy and stylish, a lot of residential fires are triggered by sources of heat.

Use these tips for avoiding fires with wood-burning stoves:


  • Make sure the stove meets all minimum distance/clearance requirements for between the stove itself and combustible/flammable materials.
  • Obtain a certification stating that the stove was properly installed and in compliance with local building codes to keep for your insurance records.


  • Stovepipes cannot feed through interior walls, floors or ceilings.
  • They also cannot be used as a chimney because they will rust.
  • Should go directly into a chimney when possible.
  • Extend pipes three feet above roof.


  • Must be masonry-listed and factory built. No DIY chimneys allowed.
  • Double-brick chimneys are acceptable only after careful inspection from a certified contractor.
  • Never use a metal chimney with a coal stove. The coal produces corrosive gases that will deteriorate the metal.
  • Do not connect the stove with a flue that ventilates an oil burner – any vapors from the burner could evacuate into the stove.
  • Have the chimney cleaned by a certified professional annually.
  • Keep decorations and debris away from the stove at all times.
  • Keep glass doors open while fire is going, closed when not. If you don't have glass doors, always keep the metal mesh screen attached.

Maintenance and application

  • Always use the right kind of fuel such as hardwoods (oak, maple, etc.).
  • Wood needs to be split and air dried for at least a year prior to burning.
  • Clean regularly with a wire brush.
  • Burning wood produces creosote over time — it is highly combustible and resides along the sides of the stovepipe and chimney.

As always, make sure your home is protected with the best homeowners insurance in Sussex and its surrounding regions. Contact Fundy Mutual today for an insurance quote online.