surface. Loosely layer the firebox with lightly crum- external dial regulates heat output and controls your chimney lining. If your stove pipe is boxed
pled newspaper and dry, finely split kindling or a fire- fuel delivery. Occasional cleaning of an ash pan is in, you won’t readily see any metal failure or
lighter on top. Firmly open the damper and ignite necessary, while all other aspects of the heating damage to the pipe. Spend some money on a
the paper on all sides. process occur automatically. professional service to properly examine these
If the fire burns too slowly, draft louvers of the “hidden” areas and your entire woodburning
stove should be opened or the door left slightly Chimney Maintenance system. Otherwise you may be creating a fire
ajar for the first few moments to get a good blaze. The Consumer Product Safety Commission hazard that could cost you thousands of dollars,
Add more kindling and some pieces of larger estimates that about 45,000 chimney fires or even the destruction of your home!
wood. A constant rising movement of air signals occur each year. Improper maintenance and Pellet stoves are easy to maintain: empty the ash
that good drafting conditions have been inadequate cleaning are the most common pan weekly; periodically clean the burn pot, hopper,
achieved. Your chimney is preheated when each causes. Metal stovepipes are especially suscepti- ash traps and glass; hire professional servicing of the
larger piece of wood you add burns vigorously, ble to failure due to heat stress, creosote entire unit annually before the cold season, and
without a loss in intensity of the fire. buildup and even scouring and weakening of have the chimney and vent inspected annually (and
the metal from cleaning with abrasive brushes. cleaned as necessary) by a certified chimney sweep.
Creosote is an oily residue that resembles a
tar-like liquid or small black flakes. No matter In Case of a Chimney Fire
how efficiently you burn wood, the combustion The first indication of a serious chimney fire is
process is never 100 percent complete. Creosote the noise – a loud roaring. Black smoke and sparks
is found almost anywhere in a wood heating (in severe cases even flames) will exit the top of
system. It is more of a problem in wood stoves the chimney.
than fireplaces since the exhaust gases from nCall the fire department immediately
stoves are cooler than those from fireplaces. nGet everyone out of the house
Creosote builds up on the lining of the chim- nIf you have time, close the stove’s draft
ney flue, and even a small amount is highly louvers and solid damper in the stove pipe
During warmer seasons in spring and fall, con- combustible. A hot fire can ignite the creosote nIf possible, wet down the roof (not the
trol the total heat output by limiting the amount buildup resulting in chimney fire. A chimney chimney) and other outdoor combustibles to
of wood you place on the fire, rather than by clos- fire can send globs of molten creosote and mor- prevent fires ignited by shooting sparks and
ing down the air supply. Make shorter, hot fires tar onto your roof. It can penetrate your chim- flames.
using more finely split wood. Let the fire burn out ney and ignite your walls and rafters.
rather than smolder at a low air supply setting. The National Fire Protection Association National Farmers Union
When you need more heat, restart the fire again states in their fire safety code, “Chimneys, fire- Property and Casualty Company
with kindling, but then add smaller fuel loads. places and vents shall be inspected at least once a 5619 DTC Parkway, Suite 300
This allows your stove to operate at maximum year.” Regardless of how often you use your wood
Greenwood Village, CO 80111-3136
efficiency with minimum emissions and creosote burning appliance, follow this code and have
buildup. Avoid the temptation of building a big (800) 347-1961
your wood burning system checked annually.
fire and then starving it for air. Never let a wood More frequent checks are advisable if your stove
fire burn unattended or overnight. builds up more creosote and soot than normal. This brochure is informational only and is neither an offer to insure nor
For Pellet stoves, pellets are placed in a hopper Unless you are an experienced and compe- a contract of insurance. It is intended to provide general Wood Stove
where they are automatically fed into the fire pot. tent do-it-yourselfer, think twice before trying Safety information without any agreement, promise, representation or
warranty with respect to such information.
A simple electronic igniter lights the fire, and an to clean your own chimney—you may damage
The rich tradition of wood burning is deeply Heat Output must be followed to the letter. So it is recommend- pipe and drip onto the stove or floor.
ingrained in our American lifestyle and history. The right size unit is very important to your ed you always have a qualified heating contractor Wood that is dry and well-seasoned for 9 to 18
Today’s wood burning appliances are not mere- enjoyment. Your hearth retailer can help you experienced with wood burners install your unit. months will ignite and burn much more efficient-
determine the right size, factoring in your If you opt for a pellet stove, purchase from a trained ly and cause fewer problems. Split logs dry and
ly an economical heat source but also an integral
climate, floor plan and lifestyle. The heat out- pellet stove expert who can arrange installation by a ignite even faster.
addition to home furnishing. However, every year
put rating information on the certification label certified professional installer and also provide a
there are many tragic fires traceable to improper resource for where to purchase pellet fuel in your area. Pellet Fuel
can also help match your heating needs with
installation or incorrect maintenance of wood the capacity of the stove. Installation of smoke/carbon monoxide detectors Pellet fuel is a renewable, recycled energy
burning appliances. becomes especially important if you have a wood resource made from sawdust and wood shavings
Pellet Stoves burner. Have them installed in an adjacent room to (and sometimes corn). This recycled waste goes to a
Purchasing These are unique and efficient home heaters pellet mill where it is dried, compressed and formed
The wood stove industry using modern technolo- avoid false alarms from smoke escaping from your
that generate automated, economical and earth- wood burning appliance. Make sure the detectors are into small pellet-sized bits. Resins and binders
gy has developed wood burning appliances that pro- friendly wood heat using pellet fuel instead of (lignin) occurring naturally
duce more heat, use less fuel, are safer and also meet UL “listed” or Factory Mutual (FM) approved and
firewood. Pellet stoves may be installed almost test them monthly. in the sawdust hold the
clean air standards. If you’re shopping for a wood anywhere in your home within as little as three pellets together, so they
burning unit remember the starting point is you, You should also install a multipurpose dry chem-
inches from a wall. The key is having an ical extinguisher within easy reach of each stove. contain no additives.
your home, your tastes and your lifestyle. From there electrical outlet near to power the electronic Pellet fuel is unparal-
a trained hearth products retailer can help you A 2-A, 40-BC extinguisher is desirable. Using
igniter which initially lights the fire. water on a hot stove in an emergency can result in leled in heat efficiency,
choose the ideal product. ensures almost complete
severe stove damage or even an explosion.
Safety Retiring Old Stoves combustion and produces minimal smoke. This
Purchase only an appliance which has been Currently no technology is available to improve Wood Fuel fuel requires specially designed pellet stoves or fire-
safety tested and bears a label from an uncertified stove or fireplace insert. The only Hardwoods and softwoods are chemically sim- place inserts which are easily installed and main-
Underwriters Laboratory (UL), another option is to purchase a new certified unit. This may ilar – the difference is density. Soft woods such tained. If you would like more information on this
recognized testing lab or a building code be simple and surprisingly affordable. as fir and pine are easy to light and burn rapidly fast growing industry, the Pellet Fuels Institute
group. Avoid “garage sale specials” or antique Gas logs or a fireplace insert may be just right for with a hot flame. Hard woods, such as ash, website is www.pelletheat.org.
stoves. Even a small undetected flaw can you. Fireplace inserts that burn pellet fuel are also beech, birch, maple and
result in hazard. available. Other upgrading costs can include the wood oak, provide a longer- Starting a Fire
stove or fireplace insert, chimney, delivery, installa- lasting fire with a shorter You want to create the “good drafting condi-
Efficiency tion, annual fuel costs and maintenance. However, a flame. A mixture of soft- tions” necessary to maintain clean combustion
Again, look for a certification label by an newer certified unit will be more efficient and burn woods and hardwoods is and minimize creosote buildup. Good drafting
accredited testing laboratory. An EPA- less wood, so the cost of upgrading pays for itself over the best choice for a fire means your chimney consistently draws air into
sanctioned label includes emission and time, especially if you switch to a pellet fuel system. that is easily ignited and the firebox at a high enough rate to provide ade-
efficiency ratings for the appliance. The amount long lasting. quate oxygen for complete burning. To create this
of wood you will Installation Green wood has too draft you must “preheat the chimney.” This pre-
burn to produce Installation of your wood heating appliance should high a moisture content heating can vary by chimney but typically requires
the desired output be done by a professional. All wood burners must be for satisfactory use. 5-15 minutes of vigorous firing. Some wood stove
will depend on the installed to comply with local fire/building codes Condensation of this manufacturers provide specific guidelines for
efficiency of the and manufacturer’s specifications. There are safety moisture makes for a “cool” fire which encour- startup and preheating phases. Follow these
stove that you requirements for wall clearance, floor protection, ages creosote buildup. Burning green wood instructions when they are specified.
select. venting and insulation of the stovepipe and chim- can cause the formation of so much creosote At startup, remove from the firebox all but a thin
ney. Manufacturer’s installation requirements that it may even run down inside the stove layer of ashes, which will provide a heat reflecting