Dumfries and Galloway Fire and Rescue Service recently issued some safety guidance in the wake of a number of house fires linked to wood burning stoves. Substantial energy price rises in recent years, coupled with the struggle to cope with recession, have made woodburners a popular way to save money on home heating bills. The trouble is that the pressing need to save money can tempt people to cut corners when installing their wood burning stove, increasing the risk of a house fire.
According to community fire safety officer Michael Aldersey of Dumfries and Galloway Fire and Rescue Service “When they are used correctly, wood-burning stoves are a safe and effective way to heat the home, but users should be aware of some basic safety considerations”. His comment appeared last week in The Galloway News, along with the following recommendations for safely enjoying your woodburner.
- The main concern is to make sure wood burning stoves are fitted professionally, including having the chimney checked before installation.
- People often leave firewood close to the stove to dry out before it is used, but the wood can get sufficiently warm and dry to catch fire even if it isn’t in direct contact with the woodburner. You should keep any flammable materials well away from your stove.
- The surface of a wood burning stove will become very hot during use. If you have young children in the house you should put a fireguard around your woodburner to prevent them getting close enough to burn their little hands.
These are all excellent points, but I would add that anyone who uses their woodburner with the door open should use a spark guard, and that it is vital to dispose of ash safely as embers can reignite hours or even days after the fire has gone out.
If you are thinking of getting a wood burning stove we recommend a professional solid fuel installation survey before going ahead to confirm it is a suitable heating option for your home, to get a clear idea of the installation costs and to ensure you have expert help in choosing the best stove for your home.