If you plan to use a wood stove to help heat your home this winter, use extreme caution. According to the National Fire Protection Association, supplemental heating equipment, such as a wood stove, is the leading cause of home fires during the months of December, January, and February.

Safety Installation:

  • All operating wood stoves and furnaces require specific minimum distances or clearance between the bottom, top, sides, front, and back of the stove and all combustible materials. Insufficient clearance could cause heat produced by the stove to penetrate nearby combustibles, causing a serious fire.
  • Installation clearances may be reduced by installing a heat shield along the combustible wall.


  • The chimney for a wood stove must be masonry or UL-listed, and factory built. Never should an unlined single brink chimney be used for a wood stove. Single brick chimneys are prone to deterioration, which may allow potentially dangerous situations to develop.
  • Many older homes have unlined chimneys constructed of double brick. They may be used for a wood stove only after carefully checking for cracked mortar or loose/missing bricks.
  • Factory built, metal chimneys must never be used with a coal stove. Corrosive flue gases produced by a coal fire will cause a rapid deterioration of the chimney.
  • A wood burning stove should never be connected to a flue which vents an oil burner. Deadly, unburned vapors from the oil burner could back up into the stove and the room where it is located.


  • 90% of all stove-related fires originate within the venting system.
  • A venting system is not a chimney – it consists of lengths of 24-guage or heavier stovepipe which connects the stove to an approved chimney

Operations and Maintenance:

  • Use proper fuel – burn only dry, well-seasoned wood
  • Clean Regularly
  • Avoid creosote buildup

Information compiled from: