You might be using a wood or pellet stove now that the temperature has dropped, but are you using it safely? Stoves should be listed by qualified testing laboratories and you’re encouraged to have them professionally installed.

Grand Forks Deputy Fire Chief Richard Piché says to ensure your fire alarm and carbon monoxide detector are functioning. “We actually had a call this weekend with exactly that and they had a carbon monoxide detector that let them know that there were some harmful levels in the home, and we determined after we ventilated their house and started putting appliances on one at a time that in fact it was a wood stove.”

You’re recommended to have one outside each sleeping area on every level of the house, and can interconnect these alarms for increased protection. You’re also encouraged to test your alarms monthly.

Piché says that being too close to a stove can be dangerous. “If you’ve got children around remind them that wood stoves can get hot and to not touch them, and the other thing is a lot of people use their wood stoves to dry things off. That can be dangerous and so you’ve just got to make sure you keep everything 3 feet away, the same recommendation as we say with any portable heaters.”

Only burn dry, seasoned wood in wood stoves, and dry, seasoned pellets in pellet stoves. Your chimney and stove should be professionally inspected and cleaned every Fall. You can also periodically clean the inside of your stove with a wire brush. You should always let ashes cool before disposing of them, and store them in a covered metal container outside at least 10 feet away from any structure.

To read about Christmas Tree safety click here.