Having a wood stove or fireplace in your home increases your home’s value and adds warmth and comfort. However, all appliances need proper care.
Follow these helpful tips for optimum safety and to extend the useful life of your wood stove or fireplace.
Annual maintenance of your wood-burning appliance prevents problems caused by undetected damage, carbon monoxide leaks, and faulty components.
A qualified chimney service technician can check all parts of your wood stove or fireplace for functionality and safety, and their service usually includes chimney cleaning too.
This removes dangerous debris and soot which can lead to chimney fires. They’ll also look for signs of a prior chimney fire that can weaken the structure and endanger your family and recommend remedies.
Choose the Correct Wood
Choosing the correct wood type for your wood stove or fireplace is extremely important. Seasoned firewood that has dried at least six months old produces less smoke and a safer fire.
When possible, opt for hardwood rather than softwood as it produces less creosote. Avoid burning pressure-treated lumber as it is creosote-laden. Burning the correct wood reduces fire risk and provides a more enjoyable experience.
Dispose of Ashes Safely
Clean the ashes out of the bottom your fireplace or your wood stove regularly. Don’t allow more than one inch to accumulate, or your fires will produce more smoke as the appliance receives less oxygen.
Don’t dispose of ash in your garbage. Wait until the ash cools and then shovel it into a metal container with a lid. Store this away from your home and dig the ash into flower beds or your garden in the spring or autumn.
Fireplace ash is high in phosphorous, potassium, calcium, boron and other elements and it can raise the pH in gardens. Don’t use it around acid-loving plants such as blueberries and azaleas, or potatoes.
Practice Fire Safety
Keep flammable materials at least three feet away from wood burning appliances. This includes fabric in drapes, carpets, and furniture, as well as items such as paper, matches, and lighters.
Ensure you use a fire screen to prevent sparks and burns and use fireplace tools. A pair of fire-resistant gloves is also a great idea. Read or access your wood burning appliance manual so you understand how to use it properly to optimize its’ life.
Check Your Insurance Coverage
Fire is a covered risk under most homeowner’s insurance policies, but ensure your appliances are properly installed and maintained. Insurers can deny coverage for an improperly installed device and may deny a claim if you fail to maintain your wood burning appliance and it leads to a fire.
If you haven’t done an insurance review recently, talk to your local independent insurance agent. They’ll analyze your coverage and realign it to your current needs. Your home’s value appreciates and you may have invested in improvements too. An insurance review only takes a few minutes, but in ensures your policy adequately protects your home and valuables.