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In my whole life, I have probably started a whopping 50 or so fires in fireplaces. And some of those fires were with a gas stove and fake logs. 🙂 Now I've embarked on a whole new experience to me – using wood burning stoves! The house we are currently renting in our new state has a Buck woodstove in it. I just had a wonderful gentleman come and do a full woodstove and wood stove fan maintenance visit. He cleaned it, put in a new seal, and recommended a different grate than what was already there. Needless to say, I followed his advice and now have these two separate grates that hold the logs nicely, yet allow me to clean the ash out easily,
instead of this single grate that is too high and too difficult for easy cleaning.
You'll notice I have about an inch of ash in my woodstove. He explained it is wise to keep about that much in there to assist with the fire. Very useful to know!
Another bit of important information is that three sides of my stove will stay cool but the front and top of it will get quite warm – warm enough to heat water! Needless to say, that means I will have to be very careful to talk to my grandchildren about woodstove safety!
I did a little research and discovered that they do make fences to go around woodstoves. My grandkids are older, so I'm hoping I won't need them. We've already been teaching them not to go on the brick floor around the stove or touch the stove even when it's not in use, as I didn't want them to accidently damage it. So far, they've done really well. I'm glad to know I do have a good option if I decide I need it. And if I had younger grandkids, especially babies, I would definitely invest in one of those. For that matter, depending on where the woodstove is located, a fence could be a wise investment for elderly parents who may be a bit unsteady on their feet or who use a walker, rollator, or wheelchair.
I also learned that ashes are best disposed of in a fireproof container and it should not be kept in the garage or near the house. My grandkids are good about not messing with those kinds of things, but if you have an ultra-curious grandchild, you might want to have a fence around that as well.
My "chimney sweep" advised me to have the woodstove checked annually if I decide to use it regularly through the winter. At this point, I'm only planning on using it occasionally, but that could change after I get my next electric bill! 🙂
A good article on safety precautions is at Frugal Living Freedom. She recommends not even burning the woodstove if children are in the house. Due to power outage concerns, that might not be an option. Yet another reason to think about the woodstove fireplace gate!
Another vital safety need is a good fire extinguisher. Every home really should have one or more of these on each level. I had an old one from a previous tenant, so I just purchased a new one and have set aside the old one to research how to refill it.
I'm looking forward to using this woodstove and doing it in a "safe and sane" way for grandchildren and senior parents alike, not to mention myself. How about you? Do you have any other great safety tips to share with us woodstove newbies? We'd love to hear them.