Wood heat is an excellent way to heat a home and save money. However, there are dangers to using a wood stove that many people are not aware of.
A wood stove, of course, requires the use of wood. To get wood, someone has to go cut it; and cutting wood can be a dangerous task. First of all, there is the chain saw. You must be strong and experienced in the use of a chainsaw so you will not get hurt. The saw is sharp and can quickly cut off a limb or cause death if used improperly. Also, when the tree falls, it could fall on you. You must be extremely careful when cutting wood.
When you take the wood home, it is important to be sure that it is stacked away from buildings; the wood could have termites that can damage the structure.
A wood stove gets very hot. This can be dangerous to little children or even to adults. If there are little children in the house, it is safest to put a fence around the stove so that the child does not have access to it.
The stovepipe must be kept clean so that it will not catch fire. Creosote builds in the pipe, and once it builds up, it can catch fire easily with flames that jump very high. If this happens, then the flames can catch the roof on fire. If the pipe does catch fire, shut the stove down so that the fire can go out. If the flames are jumping out of the pipe, call the fire department right away.
Fire in the pipe is not the only danger. When building a fire, be very careful so that the fire stays contained in the stove. It is best to tend the fire until it is going strong and the stove doors can be shut.
Smoke from the fire can be unsafe. If a stovepipe is plugged, smoke could come into the house; this can be very harmful to breathe is extremely harmful to asthmatics. It is important to keep the pipe clean for this reason too.
The stove itself is not the only thing that is dangerous. Emptying ashes is dangerous too. Some people put ashes into a cardboard box which is a very bad idea. The ashes should be placed in a metal bucket because they are hot. They should also be put in a place where they can cool off and the wind cannot blow them away. Even one smoldering ash caught by the wind could start a fire. They should never be put next to the woodpile or the house. They should also never be left in the house. The safest thing to do with the ashes is to pour water over them after they are put in the bucket so that they cannot blow away. Better yet, a bucket with a lid will ensure that the ashes are contained until they go out if they are still hot.
Wood stoves do cause pollution. They put out ash and soot which is harmful to the environment. If you have breathing problems it is hard to go outside when there are wood stoves burning.
There are many dangers to using a wood stove. It is important that you know what you are doing, have it installed properly, keep it clean, and you are careful with the wood. However, if precautions and safety measures are taken, a wood stove can be an excellent source of heat.
Stacy Gianakura writes for Heating Oil Shopper, a leading source of information on home heating oil and New Hampshire (NH) heating oil prices. Click here for more information.