Wood Burning Stove Fire Safety Tips for Your Home You Need to Know

Date: 9 February 2023

A fireplace or stove can be a focal point of any room. The flicker of the flame, the classic or contemporary structure, and the warmth it brings can all lead people to be intrigued or fascinated by its presence.

With any type of fire posing a risk, you must be aware of the potential hazards a wood-burning stove could present to your home. Look after it correctly and you will have many years of use from it, trouble and accident-free. Fail to maintain it or understand the risks involved and you could cause insurmountable damage to your home or loved ones.

That may have been a heavy start and we certainly wouldn’t want to deter you from an alluring wood-burning stove but at Ignition Fires, we understand the dangers fire poses to people regardless of the fuel type. And that is why we want to help educate people in the best way possible to stay safe and enjoy the fireplace or stove they want.

This month we look at wood-burning stoves and how you can prevent problems and get maximum enjoyment from them in your home.

Have your wood-burning stove installed by professionals

You may wish to install your wood-burning stove by yourself and in some cases, this can be relatively easy but for added peace of mind, we would always advise a qualified installer to take on this job. That is certainly not to say we doubt your ability but certain regulations need to be adhered to and having an expert eye work on the installation means you do not have to worry about them. There should always be a specific distance between the top, bottom, sides, front and back of any stove from combustible materials. This will vary based on the stove size so feel free to check the manual provided with your stove should you have any doubts. Failure to have the correct distance could see heat penetrate these materials and cause a fire. In some cases, a heat shield being installed along the wall will allow for these distances to be reduced. In addition, look at the surface you are standing your stove on. A tile floor for example will be much safer than a carpet.

 At Ignition Fires, our specialist team of fully certified stove fireplace installation engineers can ensure full compliance is always met.

Allow for proper ventilation for your wood-burning stove

If there is not adequate ventilation, you could find the area susceptible to a build-up of dangerous fumes. For the best and fully compliant ventilation for a wood-burning stove, you will need a chimney that is masonry or factory built. A single brick chimney should never be used as they are more prone to deteriorating and therefore causing further problems. Regular cleaning of the chimney will also prevent a build-up and blockages which could then lead to inhalation of toxic gases or a fire. Chimney Sweeping in Surrey and the surrounding areas is something we can offer to ensure people are left safe in the knowledge that their wood burner isn’t leaving poisonous gasses in the home.

Ventilation isn’t just limited to the chimney though, you should also make sure that there is sufficient air coming into the room at all times.

Use dry and well-seasoned wood for your wood-burner

For wood to properly dry out can take around two years so when buying your firewood, look for indications of its age. You will be able to get a good indication of whether the wood has dried and seasoned by spotting drying-out splits at the ends. If you were to use wet wood or some that have only recently been prepared you could find both tar and creosote forming within the burner and chimney. A significant build-up of creosote can then ignite and cause a disastrous chimney fire.

Carry out regular cleaning

A constant build-up of ash will not only make your stove look less appealing, but it can start to lead to serious issues. The mass of creosote that could form, as we mentioned earlier, could see the start of a huge fire.  Too much ash hinders the circulation of oxygen and could be problematic too so once the fire is extinguished carry out a spot clean before using it again.

The glass of your stove is also susceptible to getting dirty quickly so regular stove class cleaning will not only give you a more presentable stove but a safer one too.

Supervise and educate children about your wood-burning stove

It may sound common sense, but young children especially are fascinated by fire. They may want to just watch it, or they may want to touch it but nothing is worth the risk of what they may decide to do. Spend time educating them on how dangerous fire can be and how they should be if near the stove. You should never leave them alone near the stove, just in case that curiosity was to get the better of them. One preventative is the introduction of a fire guard that can be positioned directly in front of the stove.

Light the wood burner correctly

Using the incorrect fuel or not complying with the standard operating procedures could lead to a fire that could result in damage to the property or serious injuries to those within the household. Recently we prepared a guide on how to light a log burner safely. This will guide you through the best possible practices for lighting your stove.

Keep any combustible materials away from your wood burner

Earlier on we mentioned the need for heat shields to protect combustible materials from the heat your stove will generate. Whilst these may help protect your walls, curtains and surrounding items you must also remember how you store your wood. Never leave it near the wood burner. Many fire brigades have referenced that this is often a prime cause of fires in the home!

Whilst there could be an infinite number of safety tips, we believe these are the most common you need to be aware of. Should you still be interested in shopping for wood burning stoves in Cranleigh, Redhill, Reigate or London then contact us. With many years of experience, our team of fully certified and expert fireplace installers can guide you through the best options for you. With our Cranleigh fireplaces showroom demonstrating the very best in stoves and fireplaces, pay us a visit and see how we can transform your home.