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Woodstove Use

Woodstove-related fires kill many people each year. You can prevent them with regular safety checks and common sense, preventive maintenance, and safe wood burning techniques.

Choosing your wood

Burn only dry, well-seasoned good hardwoods such as oak, ash, apple, maple, hickory, hardhack, beech, and most other hardwoods. (Avoid low-quality hardwoods such as willow, butternut, poplar, basswood).

Avoid softwoods: pine, spruce, tamarack, hemlock, and other softwoods are often high in pitch and create creosote problems in stovepipes and chimneys. They burn fast and have low heating value, making them inefficient fuels.

Maintaining your chimney

No chimney is self-cleaning. You or a chimney sweep must clean it regularly. Check for cracks and creosote build-up before each heating season, then mark your calendar for the next scheduled maintenance date.

A chimney's life is just one chimney fire! After a chimney fire, you must have it inspected by a competent mason or professional sweep.

Storing your ashes

Ashes contain pieces of coal that can stay hot and cause fire for up to a week! Incorrect storage causes many easily prevented fires each year.

Store ashes only in a certified metal ash bucket with an airtight lid. Keep the bucket on a non-combustible surface such as a concrete floor, or outside, away from any building, until completely cold. Never use cardboard boxes, paper bags, or open containers to store ashes!

Installing fire extinguishers

No woodstove is complete without a fire extinguisher. We recommend ABC-rated dry chemical extinguishers with at least 5 lbs. capacity, one for each floor, plus one close to your stove. Businesses may need more/larger units, or specific chemicals, depending on activities. Make sure all family members or employees know how to use them.

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