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Wood burning is a popular method of home heating in the Northwest. However, the byproducts of wood burning can be significant factors affecting our quality of life and safety.

NW Insurance Council offers the following tips to help you safely burn wood and protect your family, home and property:

  • Insulate and weather strip your home to conserve heat.  You may be able to use a smaller wood stove and burn less wood.
  • Burn seasoned wood only.  Green wood just smolders and smokes without producing much heat. An average 16-pound piece of freshly cut alder contains about 2 1/2 quarts of moisture. It's best to use wood that's been seasoned for six months to a year. Split wood before storing because it will dry in less time and burn more evenly. Use of proper wood is your best safeguard against an accumulation of creosote on the lining of a chimney. A small spark can ignite creosote and cause what can be an extremely hot and dangerous fire.
  • Achieve proper burning temperatures.  A properly functioning appliance should not produce more than a pale wisp of smoke.
  • Burn only wood in your appliance.  Avoid burning trash, treated materials or coal because these materials can emit poisonous gases.
  • Consider the air quality before you burn wood.  Unless your wood stove is the only source of heat in your home, never use your wood stove during a burn ban.
  • Spring cleaning.  Include your wood stove and chimneys as part of your annual cleaning.

Proper maintenance of your stove and chimneys, along with proper use, will keep your appliance safe and functioning properly.