5 Tips on How to Properly Set-Up a Wood Stove

I picked up the newspaper one day and saw a familiar headline: “Local Home Damaged by Afternoon Fire.” As I glanced through the article, I read another familiar sentence: “Assistant Fire Chief Ron Workman said the cause appeared to be related to the installation of the woodburning stove.” Heating fires make-up nearly 40% of the fires that occur in homes annually. That’s why, if you’re planning on heating your home by this method, you’ll need to know some valuable tips on how to properly set-up a wood stove.

1. Read and Follow the Manufacturer’s Directions
To properly set-up a wood stove, the first step is to find the manufacturer’s directions that are included with it. Grab a cup of coffee or hot cocoa, if need be, then sit down and read them from beginning to end. That way, you’ll have an overall idea of what you need to know before you start. You’ll also know what tools and materials are required to do the installation right.

2. Set-Up Your Wood Stove in a Suitable Location
Here’s another useful tip: Your wood stove will need to be set-up so it is a safe distance – usually three feet- from floors, walls, furniture and other combustible items. There must be enough space so the chimney can be the proper height and have a safe clearance as well. Follow the required
building code requirements so the wood stove will be set-up properly.

Wherever you choose to install your wood stove, make sure you’ll be able to reach the chimney flue so you can clean it as required.

3. Never Alter a Wood Stove In Order to Set it Up
Remember this tip: Never alter or change a wood stove so you can set it up. That means, don’t shorten the legs, remove or replace any part of it if you find the stove won’t fit into the space you want it to be located. Changing a wood stove from its originally manufactured condition can void the warranty and create a fire/health hazard.

4. Protect the Floor Underneath Your Wood Stove
Unless the floor underneath your wood stove is made of non-flammable concrete or cement, it must be properly shielded from intense heat, hot ashes and coals. Usually, to properly set-up a wood stove, this protection must spread out 6 to 12 inches from the sides and back, and a full 18 inches from the door of the wood stove.

You can purchase a manufactured metal pad for this purpose. However, follow the manufacturer’s directions in order to find out what the best protection for your particular model will be.

5. Choose a Safe Chimney and Position It Correctly
You have two choices for a wood stove chimney: 1) A Chimney Built of Mason Blocks, or 2) a UL-listed (Underwriters Laboratory) Metal, Manufactured Chimney. Either type of chimney can be part of a properly set-up wood stove, but a metal chimney is usually less expensive and easier to install. Here’s another tip you can use: Never insert a wood stove chimney through a window or a roof, or, most importantly, into an attic area.

Follow the manufacturer’s directions and properly set-up your wood stove so it will be installed safely and correctly.

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