How do you heat your home in the colder months? For many homeowners, wood and pellet stoves have become a viable option for heat. With any heat source, it is important to perform routine maintenance and follow safety guidelines to ensure equipment is working properly and the safety of your home is not put at risk. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), heating equipment is one of the leading causes of home fires during the winter months. Being a volunteer firefighter, I’ve witnessed, first-hand, fires that could have been easily prevented with proper care and consumer awareness. As the temperature begins to drop and you prep your home for the cold months ahead, follow these safety tips for using your wood or pellet stove.
Have your wood or pellet stove installed professionally and be sure to read the manual. A qualified professional will take their time to install the stove and chimney parts correctly. They will also be able to give you a good explanation of how to use and care for the stove. After their explanation, it is still a good idea to read the user’s manual for information on how to work the stove, what type of wood or pellets to burn, and how to properly care for it.
Have your stove and chimney cleaned professionally. Just as you had it professionally installed, it is wise to also have it professionally cleaned. As a general rule of thumb, you should have it cleaned and inspected every fall before you begin to heat the house with it.
Only burn the appropriate substances! These stoves are only designed to burn wood or pellets. Avoid burning any other objects especially if they are dangerous or could be combustible. For your wood stove, only burn dry seasoned wood, and for your pellet stove, only burn dry seasoned pellets.
Give your stove some space. Your wood or pellet stove will get very hot, so make sure there are no flammable objects within at least 3 feet of the stove. This includes furniture, drapes, bedding, carpet, decorations, etc. If you have children or pets in the home, keep them away from the stove to avoid getting burned.
Equip your home with carbon monoxide detectors. Wood and pellet stoves tend to emit carbon monoxide if not vented properly. In the event that ventilation is limited and carbon monoxide is present in the home, you will be notified by the alarm. Take it a step further and interconnect your CO alarms so they will all sound at once. If you have an existing Select Security SmartHome system, we can tie your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors right in.
Stay warm this fall and winter and be safe!
Customer Relations Representative and Volunteer Firefighter