During the cold months, many people enjoy the warmth of a wood-burning stove. As is the case with any type of appliance, though, a wood burner needs to be used in the way it is intended and be kept well maintained if it is to function properly. Here are some tips for getting the most out of your wood-burning stove:


Be careful about what you put in your wood burner. Just as the name suggests a wood-burning stove is designed to burn wood and not another type of fuel like coal, which burns hotter and could become a safety hazard. Other items that should not be burned are painted or pressure-treated wood, particleboard, plywood, gift wrap, or colored paper. The reason is that these items are known to release hazardous fumes when burned, which could put the household in danger.


What types of wood are good for burning in your wood burner? Start the fire with softwood such as pine, as it will ignite quickly. When the fire is established, switch to burning hardwoods. Hickory and ash are good as they burn hotter and cleaner. Don’t forget to dispose of the ashes safely. You can do this by placing them in a metal receptacle filled with water.


Another important safety step to take with your wood-burning stove is to have it inspected regularly. Particular attention should be paid to the stovepipe, as this is where creosote tends to build up. It is also vital to ensure you have a sufficient number of working smoke detectors in your home so that you will be alerted to any fire-related dangers.

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