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Wood-burning stoves

Wood-burning and multi-fuel solid fuel appliances are becoming very popular on the Isle of Man and as such we would like to give you some guidance about the fitting and ongoing safety measures that you should regularly consider.

Any wood-burning and multi-fuel solid fuel appliance must be properly installed, maintained and regularly serviced by a competent person.

If your stove is not burning correctly, contact the manufacturer of the appliance, the business that sold it to you or the installer of the appliance and stop using it until it has been checked and given a clean bill of health by a professional.  

These types of appliances are designed to burn seasoned and dry wood.  It is important to consult the manufacturer of the appliance to determine what types of wood the appliance can burn.  Most manufacturers advise against the burning of treated timber such as wood from pallets as they can emit harmful chemicals when burnt.

Follow these basic safety guidelines:

  • The appliance should only be installed by a competent person, following the manufacturer’s instructions, current building regulations and codes of practice.  Always contact your Building Control department before installing such appliances, they can give you advice specific to your building and location so you can fully enjoy your wood burning stove without any danger or nuisance to yourself or to your neighbours.  The Isle of Man Fire and Rescue Service has been called to a number of incidents where wood burning stoves have been fitted incorrectly and have resulted in direct heat and flame impingement onto wooden lintels and timber roof joists which in turn has resulted in a fire.
  • Make sure there is always enough air coming into the room and that the chimney is clean - this will assist the burning process reducing the likelihood of fumes leaking from the appliance or chimney. Fumes and smoke leaking from solid fuel appliances have the potential to be hazardous to health, more so for those with a pre-existing respiratory illness. Always install a Carbon Monoxide Alarm in the room where the wood burning stove is situated.
  • Wood burning appliances should be sited on a non-combustible hearth. Placement directly onto a wooden (hardwood) floor or carpet (surface) increases the risk of fire due to the extreme heat emitted from the stove.
  • Wood should be dry and well-seasoned. This can take up to two years depending on the type of wood used. A well-seasoned log will have drying-out splits in the ends. Wet or newly-felled wood can cause tar or creosote to form in the appliance or chimney.
  • If chimneys are not cleaned regularly (the creosote is not removed through yearly cleaning), there is a significant danger of the creosote igniting and causing a chimney fire, any kind of chimney fire has the potential to result in significant loss of property or life.
  • If the stove has been used slowly (overnight, for instance) this should be followed by a period of faster burning to dry out any creosote and to warm up the chimney again.
  • The chimney should be cleaned at the end of each heating season and at least once during the heating season. It should also be inspected regularly by a competent person.
  • Do not stack logs or place any other combustible materials immediately adjacent to the stove or boiler. The Isle of Man Fire and Rescue Service have been called to a number of incidents where a fire has been caused as a result of logs being stored against the hot external surface of wood burners.
  • Children should be educated about the dangers of the appliance and should not be permitted near hot surfaces or the stove door. Use a protective fire guard that is suited to the design of your stove. 
  • Use extra caution and proper protection when opening the stove door, adding to the fire or touching any part of the wood burning stove to prevent yourself from getting burnt. Protective heat resistant gloves or tools should be used to open the door of the stove.
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