Winter weather is here, and it’s time to start heating your home. If you have wood heating, you probably know that there are risks involved. Here are four facts to know about this source of heat:
1. Wood heating is one of the most dangerous sources of heat
While every form of heating comes with its risks, wood heating ranks number one for fire risks. Did you know? According to the Quebec Ministry of Public Security, nearly 40% of residential fires start in the fireplace or chimney.1 As well, wood heating is a significant source of air contaminants both outside and inside the home. In addition to fine particles, wood heating emits contaminants such as carbon monoxide (CO) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). High concentrations of these contaminants can negatively impact health and cause headaches, respiratory irritation, coughing and other effects. Think about installing a CO detector to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
2. Having wood heating affects your home insurance
Since wood heating is one of the leading causes of residential home fires, you can expect to pay more for your home insurance when you have wood heating, such as a stove or fireplace. Also, it is extremely important to tell your insurance company about any type of backup heating—not only will this affect your insurance premium, but it will also help you avoid unpleasant surprises in the event of a claim.
3. Making the right choice when buying your wood stove will save you lots of trouble
If you plan on installing a wood stove in your house or buying a house with this type of heating, keep these tips in mind:
- Check that the chimney is compliant and ensure that you have a 2100° prefabricated metal chimney or masonry chimney
- Have your wood stove or fireplace installed by a professional
- Ensure that your local municipal bylaws permit the installation of this type of heating. You can find out on your city’s or town’s website
4. There are easy ways to reduce the risk of fire
If, like many, you think that there is nothing like the heat of a wood fire to warm you up, there are a few simple things you can do to easily reduce the risk of a fire.
- Don’t burn painted or pre-treated wood; instead use wood that is hard and dry
- You can also choose environmentally-friendly logs that are less damaging to the environment and that release more heat
- Have your chimney swept every year to remove the creosote, which is a highly flammable material that builds up on the walls of a chimney
- Store firewood outside and away from the house
If you don’t have a wood stove or wood-burning fireplace, you should still keep an eye out for the risks from other sources of backup heating. Regardless of your situation, it is important to be cautious, well informed and to have good home insurance coverage based on your needs.