Chimney fires, smoke and discoloration of surrounding surfaces due to heat and exhaust are a significant risk when using antique wood-burning stoves. These risks can be alleviated with experience and proper stove placement and chimney maintenance.
Ash and residue can build up inside a wood stove, especially if certain types of wood are burned over long periods of time. This buildup can make stoves prone to catching fire and overheating, which in turn can start secondary fires in the surrounding environment. Regular cleaning is the best way to keep this from happening.
A chimney fire can occur if a chimney is not adequately cleaned. This can be disastrous because the fire can spread along the length of the chimney, possibly even leading to the destruction of the home. Regular chimney cleaning is essential for safe and responsible operation of a wood-burning stove.
A wood stove also presents simpler risks, such as the heated metal of the stove itself. Unlike burners, which can be heated specifically, the entire stove becomes hot as it burns fuel. This means it is much easier for people to be injured on the heated surface when attempting to cook, a threat that only common sense and careful preparation can avert.