Fire Saves on Energy - Must Be Safe
Many of us are using wood and pellet burning stoves and fireplaces to save on energy costs this year. However, the tragic death of 9-year-old Kolton Real in a house fire here in the Ozarks over the weekend reminds us to be safe with our heat. It's not yet completely known what caused that fire, but officials are guessing it was some type of pellet stove used to help heat the home.
When we sold our house in Kansas City last year, the inspector found we had a chimney fire in our often-used fireplace. "Lucky it didn't burn your house down," said the inspector. We had to make an insurance claim for a fire and have the interior of the chimney dismantled and replaced to make it safe for the new owner. It's very important a safety inspection is conducted each year on your chimney, and that it is cleaned.
Here are a few other tips to help keep you warm and
safe this winter:
Keep all flammable household items—drapes, furniture, newspapers, and books—far away from your wood stove.
Start fires only with clean newspaper and dry kindling. Never start a fire with gasoline, kerosene, charcoal starter, or a propane torch.
Do not burn wet or green (unseasoned) logs.
Do not use logs made from wax and sawdust in your wood stove or fireplace insert – they are made for open hearth fireplaces. If you use manufactured logs, choose those made from 100 percent compressed sawdust.
Build small, hot fires. A smoldering fire is not a safe or efficient fire.
Keep the doors of your wood stove closed unless loading or stoking the live fire.
Regularly remove ashes from your wood stove into a metal container with a cover. Store the container of ashes outdoors on a cement or brick slab (not on a wood deck or near wood).
Keep a fire extinguisher handy.
If possible, properly install an insert to help efficiency.
Always have a working smoke and carbon monoxide detector in the home.
Tips provided by the EPA at: http://www.epa.gov/woodstoves/efficiently.html