Improperly installed and maintained wood stoves and fireplaces can lead to dangerous conditions that put you and your family and neighbours at risk.

When purchasing a new wood stove or fireplace insert, look for the mark of an accredited certification agency that ensures the product has been tested and meets established safety standards.

Check with your local building department and obtain any necessary permits prior to installing a wood stove, fireplace insert or chimney. Always follow manufacturer’s installation instructions.

The Ontario fire code requires home owners to ensure that their home heating appliances and chimneys are safe. This requires periodic inspections and maintenance.

Tips for maintaining your wood burning appliance

  1. Inspect and Clean Your Chimney – Check your chimney and clear any obstructions at the start of the heating season, and make sure damper controls work properly to keep smoke and toxic gases from building up inside the home. Check chimneys and flue pipes often for creosote and soot build-up and clean to prevent chimney fires. Your chimney may have problems you cannot see. If in doubt, consult a WETT (Wood Energy Technical Training) certified chimney sweep.

  2. Cap It Off -Maintain an appropriate chimney cap on top of your chimney to protect against damage from rain or snow. Spark screens should be inspected regularly to make sure smoke can vent properly.

  3. Check Stove Pipes and Connections -Ensure all joints in flue pipes are securely fastened with at least 3 screws. Where flue pipes are joined together, the small (crimped) end should point toward the appliance

  4. Protect Floors and Walls from Heat and Sparks – keep cobustable materials a safe distance away from wood stoves and fireplaces. Always use a properly fitting screen for your fireplace. Consult a WETT use a properly fitting screen for your fireplace. Consult a WETT certified chimney sweep if walls get too hot.

  5. Burn Dry Wood – Burn properly dried, well-seasoned wood to reduce the risk of excessive creosote build-up from inefficient burning or smouldering fires. Store wood outdoors stacked in an open area or shed away from the house or deck to provide good airflow that will assist drying.

  6. Remove Ashes Safely – Allow ashes to cool fully before cleaning them from your fireplace or wood stove . Use only metal., non-combustible containers to remove ashes from the appliances. Take them outside immediately and store well away from the building on a non-combustible surface.

  7. Install Carbon Monoxide Alarms – All homes with fuel-fired appliances should have a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm. Check with your fire department or municipal office regarding Building Code and municipal by-law requirements.

For more information you should contact your local Fire Department.