Wood Stove Safety

Wood Heat Guide

The University of Maine has published a bulletin on the subject of wood stoves. The following is a suggested procedure for installation of wood-burning stoves.

Stove Location

Locate the stove centrally for maximum heat circulation throughout the house. Remember that heat rises. If you put the stove next to the stairwell, heat will rise to the second floor before before the ground floor rooms are warm. Consider whether your house has an open floor plan, heated easily from a central source, or the contrary. If air circulates poorly in your house you may have to consider two or more stoves for adequate heating.


Read about proper installation of your wood stove (PDF).

Chimney Fires

If you have a chimney fire, immediately call 911. If you have an air-tight stove, you can control the fire by cutting off the oxygen supply. Chimney fires are usually started by allowing a stove or fireplace fire to get out of hand. Don’t use a stove as a trash burner. Don’t ignite large masses of light material and let the flames go up the chimney with the draft wide open.


Burn dry and well-seasoned hardwood. Season wood at least six months, preferably a year to 18 months. Wood burners who ignore this advice are likely to have dirty chimneys and inadequate heat from their stoves. The moral is don’t burn green wood.