Heating fires account for 36% of residential home fires in rural areas every year. Often these fires are due to creosote buildup in chimneys and stovepipes. All home heating systems require regular maintenance to function safely and efficiently.
Keep Fireplaces & Wood Stoves Clean
Have your chimney or wood stove inspected and cleaned annually by a certified chimney specialist.
Clear the area around the hearth of debris, decorations, and flammable materials.
Always use a metal mesh screen with fireplaces. Leave glass doors open while burning a fire.
Install stovepipe thermometers to help monitor flue temperatures.
Keep air inlets on wood stoves open, and never restrict air supply to fireplaces. Otherwise you may cause creosote buildup that could lead to a chimney fire.
Use fire-resistant materials on walls around wood stoves.
Safely Burn Fuels
Never use flammable liquids to start a fire.
Use only seasoned hardwood. Soft, moist wood accelerates creosote buildup.
Build small fires that burn completely and produce less smoke.
Never burn cardboard boxes, trash, or debris in your fireplace or wood stove.
Protect the Outside of Your Home
Stack firewood outdoors at least 30 feet away from your home.
Keep the roof clear of leaves, pine needles, and other debris.
Cover the chimney with a mesh screen spark arrester.
Remove branches hanging above the chimney, flues, or vents.
Protect the Inside of Your Home
Install smoke alarms on every level of your home and inside and outside of sleeping areas. Test them monthly and change the batteries at least once a year. Consider installing the new long life smoke alarms.
Provide proper venting systems for all heating equipment.
Extend all vent pipes at least 3 feet above the roof.
Information re-printed from US Fire Safety Administration