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The original item was published from 10/12/2018 12:25:59 PM to 11/17/2018 12:00:00 AM.

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Fire Department

Posted on: October 12, 2018

[ARCHIVED] Heating Safety Tips

creosote buildup woodburning stove

Wood Stove Safety Tips

This time of year is notorious for its changing weather -- warm one day, cold and damp the next. If you're using wood heat to take the chills off your home, you need to be aware of the special safety hazard that burning wood can cause to your lungs. 

Burning wood improperly can be risky, especially if you don't know what not to do when using wood fuel. Improper burning of wood can endanger your health and property.

Even though wood is a natural fuel, if it is burned incorrectly, it can produce dangerous emissions, including carbon monoxide, organic gases, and smoke. To avoid this, be sure to burn only seasoned hardwoods, such as oak, maple, and hickory. Limit burning soft woods like pine or fir and never burn newly cut or wet wood.

Never burn painted or treated wood, or wood products containing glue. Never burn magazines, gift wrap, or colored paper. They all produce particles that can clog a fireplace or wood stove's air passages and can also produce noxious, corrosive or even carcinogenic gases.

And be sure you inspect your wood stove or fireplace regularly. Keep them well maintained, and have the chimney cleaned of creosote buildup every year to help prevent chimney fires.

Heating with wood can warm up a chilly day, but for safety's sake, make sure you burn wood with care. 

Here are a few additional Fire Safety Tips concerning Heating Equipment:

  • Keep anything that can burn at least three feet away from heating equipment, like the furnace, fireplace, wood stove, or portable space heater.
  • Have a three-foot “kid-free zone” around open fires and space heaters. 
  • Never use your oven to heat your home.
  • Have a qualified professional install stationary space heating equipment, water heaters or central heating equipment according to the local codes and manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Have heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by a qualified professional.
  • Remember to turn portable heaters off when leaving the room or going to bed.
  • Always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel burning space heaters.
  • Make sure the fireplace has a sturdy screen to stop sparks from flying into the room. Ashes should be cool before putting them in a metal container. Keep the container a safe distance away from your home.
  • Test smoke alarms at least once a month.

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