WOODBURNING FIREPLACES AND STOVES
A wood fireplace and wood burning stoves are a part of the homesteading tradition going back to frontier times. No one snuggles up to a manufactured metal furnace, but they will get close to a wood burning fireplace to catch some of that pioneer experience. There is something about one that just draws you in. Are wood burning fireplaces and stoves safe? Rather than giving a yes or no answer to this, these can be reasonably safe if they are maintained and used properly. The main danger with wood-burning equipment is smoke inhalation. Stoves and fireplaces often have leaks and places where smoke gets out into the home. Smoke inhalation is never a good thing. It can lead to chronic bronchitis, pulmonary arterial hypertension, chronic interstitial lung disease, and corpulmonale, and altered pulmonary immune defence mechanisms. Realizing this, if you want a wood-burning fireplace or stove in your home, buy a good one. Don't go cheap. Get one that is well sealed and make sure that the whole pipe system is well sealed. As well as that:
- Have the chimney checked and/or cleaned at least one a year.
- Install a chimney cap to keep debris and small animals out.
- Make sure that there are no tree branches near the chimney.
- Install carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors.
- If you are going to have the front open (not recommended, it lets smoke out), put on a fire screen to stop sparks.
- Don't leave the fire on when you go to bed. Put it out.