Overview: Heating is one of the primary known causes of fires during the cold months (December, January, and February) in Tennessee. From 2011-2014, heating was responsible for 7% of all structure fires and 11% of all structure fire deaths. Alternative heating sources (wood stoves, chimneys, space heaters, etc.) are common in Tennessee and are just as hazardous as traditional heating sources (electric, gas).
• Take care of your wood stove! Remove ashes regularly and inspect your stove for wear and tear.
• Never burn anything other than wood in your wood stove. Other combustibles could damage your stove or give off toxic fumes.
• Never “over-fire” your stove! In other words, make a larger fire than the stove can handle. Over firing will result in flames entering the flue pipe or chimney, and can cause damage to the stove, the chimney connector or the chimney itself, which could result in a house fire. To avoid over firing, check the instruction manual or with the manufacturer.
• Always make sure there is enough clearance between the stove and combustible materials, including floors, walls and ceilings. Always place the stove on a noncombustible, fire resistant base. Only burn dry, well-seasoned wood.
• Never extend the stove pipe through a wall or ceiling. Don’t connect the wood stove to a fireplace chimney unless the fireplace has been sealed off.
• All heaters need space. Keep anything that can burn at least 3 feet (1 meter) away from heating equipment.
• Have a qualified professional install stoves, chimney connectors, and chimneys following the manufacturer’s instructions.
• Chimneys and vents need to be cleaned and inspected by a qualified professional at least once a year.