Wood Stove Checklist

Wood Stove Checklist

Let’s admit it…as Preppers we love wood heat.  Wood is the perfect renewable resource as a heating fuel because you can harvest it with the most primitive of tools and nature supplies a steady supply if we don’t overharvest.  But like most simple solutions it’s simple for something to go wrong and that’s why you should develop and use a wood stove checklist if you include wood heat in your daily life or preparedness plan.

I want to discuss this topic today because it’s that time of year again when many of us in the Northern Hemisphere are getting ready to put our wood stoves and furnaces back into operation.  Before the first cold day arrives and you light that first fire make sure that you work through your wood stove checklist to assure that fire is your friend and not your enemy this year.  Flue fires can damage expensive chimneys, spread to other parts of the structure and even lead to the death of you or your loved ones.  Even without an out of control fire, smoke inhalation hazards exist from poorly maintained or improperly installed wood stoves.

Seek the help of a professional chimney sweep in your area to help you develop a maintenance plan for your unit and a safe wood stove checklist specifically tailored to your system.  Below is an example of one type of wood stove checklist to review as you and your professional are developing your own:

  1. Check flue pipe for corrosion, missing tile, leakage or defects.  Have a professional repair any deficiencies noted.
  2. Check wood stove or furnace for damage, corrosion and function.  Assure proper function of doors, seals and gaskets.
  3. Make sure your flue’s spark arrestor is properly attached and able to contain embers.
  4. Have the wood stove’s flue cleaned by a professional. If you elect to clean it yourself make sure to seek the proper training and use the proper equipment for your situation.  Assure that there is no build-up of creosote or ash within the stove or the flue.
  5. Make sure to remove any flammable or unnecessary items that have accumulated around your system out to the distance specified by your unit’s manufacturer or  36 inches, whichever is greater.
  6. Make sure that the fire resistive barrier behind, under and around your stove is still in good repair and is installed to manufacturer specifications.
  7. Make sure that all household members understand that flammable items should not be place on or within 36 inches of the stove…including wood, fuel, matches, other fire lighting supplies, etc.
  8. Make sure that you have at least one Class “A” or “ABC” rated fire extinguisher mounted on the wall close in your stove’s room, that all household members are familiar with it’s use and that the extinguisher’s gauge still shows it to be ready/in the green.
  9. Verify that you have a metal can with tight fitting metal lid available for ash removal during the upcoming fire building season and that it is free of cracks, holes or corrosion.

Additional considerations:

  • Barrel Stoves Are DangerousDon’t skimp on working your checklist if you’re a ‘just in case of power outage’ wood stove person either.  Many wood stove accidents and emergencies are caused by poor maintenance and poor habits resulting from insufficient experience operating wood heating appliances.
  • If you buy a wood stove and don’t intend to install unless there’s some type of breakdown or collapse make sure to purchase enough of the manufacturer’s recommended double or triple walled stove pipe and the correct thimbles for each wall/ceiling/roof penetration that must be made to properly vent your stove.
  • Buy only Underwriters Laboratory (UL) listed stoves as your family’s safety isn’t worth saving the few dollars you might save up front by installing a home-made or barrel stove.
  • Don’t purchase any wood heating appliance that requires electricity to operate like pellet stoves.


468 ad

Join the conversation

%d bloggers like this: