Everyone loves the rich glow and toasty warmth of a wood fire, but are you sure that your wood stove is completely safe?
Made from metal, your wood-burning stove may look robust, but there’s a lot that can go wrong, from placing the stove too close to combustible materials, to failure to ensure that the chimney is properly vented. Get it wrong, and there’s great potential for either starting a fire, or for allowing the stove to produce toxic gases that could compromise the safety of those close by.
Follow our tips to ensure that your wood stove is safe, and protect your home and loved ones, while keeping them warm too.
According to a report by the BBC, particulates, which are found in abundance in wood-burning stoves, are a major cause of air pollution. In an attempt to combat the worst of the pollution, which can cause breathing difficulties, the government aims to ban all but the cleanest stoves by 2022, while limiting the sale of coal and damp woods, which are a contributory factor.
Ensuring the correct siting of a wood stove is paramount. There are strict guidelines governing the distances between the stove and any combustible materials, to limit the risk of a house fire, so never be tempted to ignore the recommendations.
Heat shields are recommended for nearby walls and floors – ask your stove fitter for further information. And consider how you will store logs ready for use on your wood stove. A metal log holder is a cost-effective, non-flammable solution that keeps the surrounding area clean and tidy – look for examples at https://www.themetaltree.co.uk/ for inspiration.
Inadequate ventilation is responsible for around 90% of all household fires originating from a wood-burning stove. Don’t confuse the venting system with a chimney, as the wood stove venting system should consist of a heavily insulated stovepipe, which joins the stove to a suitable chimney outlet.
The guidelines for venting systems are extremely rigorous, governing the length of the stovepipe, the number of right-angle elbow joints and the quantity and type of fasteners used in its construction. Always use a qualified fitter, and check and double-check that the installation of your stove meets all the necessary regulations, to ensure the safety of your home and everyone in it.