Free Encyclopedia of Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, Repair
Ask a Question or Search InspectAPedia
InspectAPedia ® Home
CHIMNEY INSPECTION DIAGNOSIS REPAIR
BACKDRAFTING HEATING EQUIPMENT
CARBON MONOXIDE - CO
CHIMNEY COMPONENT DEFINITIONS
CHIMNEY FIRE ACTION / PREVENTION
COMBUSTION GASES & PARTICLE HAZARDS
COMBUSTION PRODUCTS & IAQ
FLAME COLOR, BLUE vs YELLOW COMBUSTION
HOME HEATING SAFETY
Moisture / Frost Damaged Chimney
ODORS & SMELLS DIAGNOSIS & CURE
Safety Recalls, Chimneys, Vents, Heaters
STAIN DIAGNOSIS on BUILDING EXTERIORS
WOOD, COAL STOVES & FIREPLACES
WOOD STOVE SAFETY
This article provides woodstove chimney and flue safety advice from the U.S. CPSC in an expanded, illustrated version. Because most wood stove-related house fires are traced to unsafe wood stove chimney or flue installations, these safety warnings, installation and chimney installation and inspection advice are important to anyone using a woodstove (or coal stove) in their home.
Green links show where you are. © Copyright 2013 InspectAPedia.com, All Rights Reserved. Author Daniel Friedman.
See CHIMNEY HEIGHT & CLEARANCE CODE. Also see Chimney Height Extensions and see the US CPSC warnings at CHIMNEY CLEARANCE & CONDITION SAFETY. Additional chimney clearance and safety information is at
"In 1982, wood-burning appliances accounted for more fires, more fire deaths, and greater property damage than any other kind of heating fuel -- about 140,000 fires, 250 deaths and $257 million in property damage.
These losses represented 20 percent of all residential fires in the U.S., 5 percent of all fire deaths, and 8 percent of estimated property damage." -- CPSC Chimney Safety Document #5017.
Whether your heater is a woodstove, coal stove, or even a gas fired free-standing stove or heater such as shown in the photo above showing a church heater, a fire-safe installation includes respecting the necessary clearances from combustibles and other measures too.
CPSC research indicates that most wood heating fires involve the chimney and not the appliance itself. The majority of these fires are contained within the chimney and cause no damage to the house.
is concerned, however, not only about the chimney fires that did ignite other
parts of the house, but also about the potential future hazard from the
continued use of chimneys whose structural integrity has been compromised by a
chimney fire. This is especially true in light of the fact that many contained
chimney fires are not reported to the fire services; in fact, consumers may not
even be aware that a chimney fire has occurred.
Structural damage to metal prefabricated chimneys that results in wood framing being exposed to excessive temperatures or leakage of potentially toxic gases to the interior of the home can take the following forms:
Structural damage also occurs
in masonry chimneys, often associated with deterioration or improper
installation of the chimney. The tile inner liner and the surrounding brick or
block structure may crack and separate, perhaps as a result of the ignition of creosote
that has built up in the chimney. Many old chimneys do not have a tile liner.
If your chimney does not have a liner, the addition of a properly installed
liner is advisable. Also, a clay liner should be sealed with refractory cement.
The Commission advises owners of all chimneys to:
If you have had a fire or other safety problem with your chimney, or would like additional information, call the Commission's toll-free Hotline 800-638-CPSC.
DF: additional safety advice for people heating with wood stoves or coal stoves can be found at Wood Burning Heaters Fireplaces Stoves.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Questions & answers or comments about the fire safety clearances required for woodstoves and other wood-fired heaters
Ask a Question or Enter Search Terms in the InspectApedia search box just below.
Technical Reviewers & References
Related Topics, found near the top of this page suggest articles closely related to this one.