The keys to home heating with firewood safely:
- Have a professional check your chimney once a year. Over the summer there are a range of things that can happen to your chimney making it unsafe. Birds have a tendancy to build nests, derbris can gather in unwanted places and you may have more cresosote than expected. The point is that it is worth the peace of mind knowing that you are burning safely.
- Buy a fire extinguisher. They are your best and only real defence against a fire. If you are not sure what to buy or where to buy from, we can deliver one for you with your order and even show you how it works. These should also be maintained approximately once a year.
- Teach your family about fire safety.
Fireplaces should be inspected and maintained by a professional before the heating season begins. Make sure that the door closes properly and all levers and flutes are working. Furnaces and water heaters which have flue pipes attached to the chimney of a fireplace or wood burning stove should have tight fitting joints and seams.
Fireplaces should be equipped with a tight fitting spark screen or enclosed with glass doors to stop sparks from landing on carpet or other nearby combustibles.
Retaining screens can also keep children and pets at a safe distance from the fire and so reduce the possibility of accidental burns.
Never use liquid fuel to start the fire in a fireplace or wood burning stove. Ask your local firewood distributor about getting kindling with your next order.
Ashes need to be dampened thoroughly, cooled, and stored in metal cans that are used solely for ash storage. We do suggest you add the ash to your soil once it is cool and non combustible however do not add it in compost piles, cartons, boxes or anything else that is combustible.
It is important to use only thoroughly dried and seasoned firewood. Wood that is cut takes approximately 4-6 months to season while whole logs take about 2 years. Burning seasoned firewood will help prevent or slow the buildup of creosote which is the cause of many chimney fires.
Following these precautions will reduce your risk of a home fire. Be aware of the signs and sounds of one and know what to do if you encounter them. Here are a few key indicators that you may have a chimney fire.
- a loud roar
- sucking sounds
- shaking pipes
- hot spots on wall or chimney
- or smoke in the house or apartment.
If you hear or see any of these sounds shut off the fire’s air supply. Get everyone out of the house immediately, and call 911.
There is something special about the feeling of warmth and cheer that surrounds gathering around the hearth on a cold winter night; take the time to make it a safe experience for you and your family.