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Burn Wise

Wood-Burning Installation and Maintenance

The way your wood-burning system (appliance, chimney, and vent) is installed and taken care of can make a big difference in terms of safety and air emissions. Errors in installation by a non-professional may not be visible, and problems may not be immediately apparent -- and then only by a resulting home fire. Here are some things to look for:

  • Proper clearances between the wood-burning appliance and venting system and combustible materials
  • Proper protection of combustible floors
  • Proper assembly of appliance and venting components

Experienced professionals can also properly size and place equipment for the best heat distribution. The venting system (or chimney) is the “engine” that drives the entire burning process—or causes it to perform poorly or fail. Professional decisions about the venting system include properly determining:

  • Sizing
  • Height
  • Location and protection from extreme cold
  • Configuration

A wood-burning appliance that is sized and placed properly with a venting system that delivers adequate draft will reduce wood consumption, produce more usable heat, and reduce maintenance from inefficient fires.

One of the best ways to find competent installation and maintenance professionals is to check their credentials. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)Exitcan help you find a certified chimney sweep. CSIA is a non-profit, educational organization dedicated to chimney and venting system safety.

The National Fireplace Institute (NFI)Exitan independent non-profit certification agency, conducts nationwide testing of hearth systems planners and technicians.  Only those who pass a rigorous examination covering important topics like safety and placement, venting requirements, and installation guidelines receive NFI Professional Certification.

If you qualify for heating assistance, you may also qualify to have your wood heater and chimney cleaned and/or repaired or replaced by your local heating assistance office.