Q:

Are wood stoves safe?

A:

Quick Answer

If proper installation, maintenance and use are adhered to, wood stoves are safe to use in homes and businesses. Qualified professionals are generally regarded as the best way to safely install and maintain a wood stove.

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Full Answer

Regular cleaning and use of the proper fuel will help keep wood stoves safe for use. Hardwoods that have been cut, split and dried for at least a year are considered proper fuel for a wood stove. Once cut and split, the wood should be stored in a shed or beneath a tarp. This will help the wood dry and age properly and keep it protected from the weather. Maple, ash, hickory, oak and beech are all examples of hardwoods.

Proper cleaning of the chimney and stove will help avoid creosote buildup. Creosote is extremely combustible and can take three forms: a flat, flaky, black deposit, which can be removed with a brush; a sticky liquid running down the chimney and stovepipe; or a glazed tar that requires professional cleaning. Wood stoves can be cleaned and maintained by the homeowner under most circumstances, but use of a professional chimney sweep at least once a year will ensure the stove remains safe for use. Proper fire-building practices should also be followed.

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