Wood Burning Stove
This free standing wood stove needs to have about four feet of clearance from combustibles like furniture.

Although a professionally installed wood burning stove is expected to be sound, there are dangers to having a fire burning inside of your home. Here are some things to watch out for if you have or intend to install a wood burning stove that can make having a stove much easier and require less maintenance in the long run.

Whether you are using a wood burning stove or an open fireplace to burn your fuel, if the wood you are burning is not seasoned properly you are going to get excessive smoke which can cause problems with the respiratory system, especially in older individuals or in individuals who have asthma or other breathing-related illnesses. It is never healthy for excessive smoke to be pouring into the room. To combat this danger, make sure that you always are using seasoned wood. Seasoned wood has had time to dry out completely. It does not have a green look to it on the inside. Whether you are burning hardwood or softwood is a matter of preference, but if the wood is not completely dry excessive smoking will occur. If you are sure that you are burning seasoned wood and are still experiencing smoking problems, read our blog on smoking problems to help you diagnose why this is occurring.

One aspect of having a wood burning stove that people  often forget about is maintaining proper clearance from combustibles. Although different manufacturers have different clearance requirements, you shouldn’t have your furniture within four feet of your stove. Do not operate your wood burning stove without all the necessary parts that the manufacturer had recommended. If a screen is necessary for use to arrest sparks you must have one. Sparks can cause fires, especially if combustibles are placed too close to the stove.

As with any wood burning appliance, creosote buildup in the flue system is a huge danger. Excessive creosote that has been able to build up is a danger for a chimney fire. A lot of creosote buildup in the flue system is also dangerous because it prevents chimney professionals from being able to see the actual flue system- it may be hiding cracks or missing mortar joints. Having your wood burning stove or appliance serviced regularly by a professional will help to eliminate these dangers and give you, the owner, peace of mind regarding your wood burning stove.

Clay Lamb

Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry.

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Clay Lamb

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