A wood-burning stove is a great way to heat a room or house, depending on its size. Of course, like all appliances, it needs care and maintenance to keep it running safely and problem-free. The following is a brief list of ways to ensure your wood burner stays in tip-top shape:
If you have just installed a wood burner or have moved into a home with one then it's good to be aware of the need to have it inspected regularly. Creosote tends to accumulate in the stovepipe which could become rather hazardous, so this is an important step to take. You should also check that you have the correct number of working smoke detectors in the home.
Be sure to only burn wood in your wood-burning stove. Other fuels like coal, for example, burn hotter than wood does, and this may become a safety hazard. Many other items should not go into a wood burner, among them are pressure-treated or painted woods, plywood, particleboard, colored paper, and gift wrap. These items all release toxic fumes when burned which could endanger the home's occupants.
Another important step is the safe disposal of the wood burners' ashes. A good idea is to place them in a metal container filled with water.
What types of wood are good to burn in your wood-burning stove? It is best to use dry wood instead of wood that is freshly cut as it contains much less water and burns hotter. Softwoods like pine are good for starting the fire because it ignites quickly after the fire is lit, you could start burning hardwoods like hickory or ash which burn cleaner and hotter. You will also find that cutting the wood into smaller logs will help.
Devereaux Van Dyne, Certified Professional Home Inspector