Essential Safety Tips for Wood Stoves
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Essential Safety Tips for Wood Stoves

Here's how to stay safe while staying warm.

Written by David Woods
Wood Stove

Photo: Beazy / Unsplash
Wood-burning stoves offer a practical, cost-saving, energy-efficient way to heat your log cabin. They can heat your home quickly and relatively easily and are great if you are surrounded by plenty of trees or have an unlimited supply of logs.
However, there can be some drawbacks to choosing this old-fashioned way of heating your home, fire hazards being the main one. Here are some wood stove safety tips to keep in mind if you do opt for a wood burning stove in your log home.

Selecting the Right Stove

Choose a wood stove which is made of a sturdy material such as cast iron or steel. The size will depend on the size of the room you want to heat. If you are purchasing a used stove, make sure it is in good condition, with no cracks or defects. Any defaults could lead to an unsafe stove which is a fire hazard. You should also check with your local authority to ensure that you have permission to install a wood burning stove. Check out the EPA's guide here to wood stoves that are safe for you and the environment. 


Wood-burning stoves should on be placed on reinforced and non-combustible flooring. If you are building your cabin from scratch, you’ll be able to incorporate this into the design stages, however if you a retroactively fitting a stove, you’ll need to ensure the flooring is appropriate. It should be able to withstand the weight of a heavy stove and should be made from non-combustible materials, or a non-combustible floor pad should be used. This prevents any stray sparks or embers from setting the floor on fire.


You will obviously want to choose a central location in your log cabin so that the heat can reach as many places in your home as possible. Ensure you have plenty of clearance between the stove and the walls, floor and ceiling. The standard minimum requirements will depend on the size of your room and the size of the stove.


It is important to have your stove fitted by a registered professional. They will be able to adhere to all the safety measures to ensure that you stove is setup properly and reduce any risk of damage to your home.

Using the Stove

Once you have chosen a suitable stove and installed in quickly, it important to ensure that you are using the stove sensibly to avoid any hazards. Here are a few quick tips:
  • Always open the damper before starting a fire.
  • Keep children away from the stove.
  • Keep the door closed unless you are tending to the fire.
  • Always use gloves when tending to the fire.
  • Burn dry and well-seasoned logs.
  • Have a carbon monoxide detector.
  • Establish a maintenance schedule.
  • Never burn household trash.
  • Do not use flammable liquids to get the fire started quickly.
  • Always put the fire out before you go to bed; do not leave a fire unattended.
  • Never leave flammables near the stove.
  • Do not allow the ashes to build up in the stove.

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