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December 2017

Safety tips: Heating your home with wood

There's nothing like the soothing warmth of a fireplace or wood-burning stove. The crackling flames and glowing embers, the smell of burning wood in winter...it's good for the soul, we think. But wood-based heating comes with its own set of risks. Here are five tips to help you have peace of mind if you heat your home with wood.

Canadian standards for appliances

The first thing you need to do is to check that your wood-burning stove or fireplace complies with Canadian standards. U.S. requirements are different, so it's good to look into this before you light your first fire this winter. Insurance companies will not cover damages if your appliance is not up to current Canadian standards. You can find this information on the manufacturer's label.

Around the heat source

Your fireplace or wood-burning stove should have a barrier to catch sparks that will inevitably shoot out. For fireplaces, this should be a large stone wall; for wood-burning stoves, you'll need a floor pad made of ceramic or another non-combustible material. The barrier should extend at least 18 inches from the front of the appliance, and at least 8 inches from the sides and in the back.

Protecting your walls and ceiling

Shielding is usually made of sheet metal, Duradock, ceramic, brick or concrete. It must be installed in compliance with current standards. However, these materials are not all equal in the eyes of insurers: talk to you insurance broker for more details.

Flue pipes

Did you know that by law you're not allowed to use galvanized steel flue pipes? A lot of people make this mistake. Only three materials can be used for flue pipes: 24- or 26-gauge metal, stainless steel and double-wall flue pipes. Your flue pipe should never pass through the floor or the ceiling.
If you follow these tips, you'll be able to get the most out of your fireplace or wood-burning stove—and all the serenity that comes with it!


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