How to safely heat your home with wood

October 16, 2014

The scent of a wood fire makes you feel cozy, doesn’t it? That doesn't mean your wood stove, fireplace, insert or furnace are safe. Warm your home without the risks of carbon monoxide buildup and other risks with these safety tips.

How to safely heat your home with wood

What Canadians need to know

Even with the latest model wood-burning stove or energy-efficient fireplace insert, you absolutely need proper ventilation if you heat with wood.

  • What's more, carbon monoxide isn’t the only hazardous substance in wood smoke; you may also have hydrocarbons, formaldehyde and benzene floating around your home.

Follow Canada’s codes for fireplace inserts and wood stoves

Ask yourself a few questions to make sure your home is up to code:

  • Was your wood-burning fireplace insert or hearth-mounted wood stove installed before 1991?
  • Does it simply vent from an existing chimney?
  • It may not meet the current Canadian wood burning installation code. Updating the chimney lining is not only a legal obligation, it is a safety must.
  • The required, permanent stainless steel chimney liner not only vents smoke all the way up to the chimney’s top, but it also gives you a more reliable draft and greater energy efficiency.
  • The liner seals to the masonry to keep any smoke or gases that should go out the chimney – including carbon monoxide – from floating back into your house.

Don’t know about the national or regional wood burning installation codes or the age of your wood heating system? Call a local heating contractor certified under the Wood Energy Technical Training Program for more information and a safety inspection.

Give your family warmth, health and assurance

Now that your wood-burning stove, fireplace or furnace is installed and vented to follow the national and municipal codes, what’s next?

Take control of your everyday habits for safe heating with wood and diminish the odds of carbon monoxide poisoning:

  1. Install carbon monoxide detectors on every floor of your home and regularly check that they work.
  2. Buy a high-efficiency, certified wood stove or fireplace insert.
  3. Burn small fires that produce more heat and less smoke.
  4. Use dry, seasoned hardwood cut for maximum exposed surface area.
  5. Have your wood-burning appliances inspected and cleaned every year.
  • Unless you are a trained installer, before you DIY, call your local, certified heating contractor.
  • Already have your wood-burning heating system in place? Call anyway to double-check your ventilation. It's always worth it to verify and be certain you are not putting your family at risk.

Without proper installation and ventilation, wood stoves could be hazardous. Take a few precautions this fall to ensure your home and family is warm and safe.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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