Many people in the Creston Valley use wood heat as either the primary or secondary heat source when the weather gets colder. Many of the homes for sale here have this option installed. There are some things that should be done to ensure that your home can safely be heated in this way.
Upon purchasing a home, most lenders and insurance companies will required a WETT (Wood Energy Technology Transfer) Inspection. These inspections ensure that the wood burning appliance (stove, fireplace insert, etc) is certified and meets basic safety standards, that it was installed properly, and that the chimney and surrounding area are also safe. If any renovations are done to the appliance, chimney, or areas nearby, another WETT inspection should be completed.
Every fall, your stove and chimney should be cleaned out. With a few tools and the safe use of a ladder, this can be accomplished by a homeowner. Otherwise, there are local companies that will attend your home and do this for you for a reasonable fee.
When burning wood for heat, you need to ensure that the wood is clean and well dried. It should be split and left to season for at least a year. Improperly seasoned (wet) wood is harder to light and does not burn as hot, which leads to creosote buildup in the chimney which can cause a chimney fire.
If you do end up with a chimney fire, don't panic. You may hear a roaring sound similar to a large bonfire, or you (or a neighbour) may see flames or thick black smoke pouring from your chimney. Keep the stove door closed, and close off the damper to limit the air available to the fire. Call 911, even if you think you may have the fire out, it may have managed to extend into the attic or floor joists, outside the chimney. The fire department will attend and extinguish the fire, and ensure that your home is safe.
Follow the above tips to make sure that you can enjoy the comfort and ambiance that wood heat can provide. If you want to buy a home that has a wood heat option, give me a call!