1. What is Fire Code and why does it matter?
Fire codes vary by state, however most states, including NH base their fire codes on the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) codes and standards. The NFPA collects data and conducts tests to determine the cause of fires. They then develop codes to prevent future occurrences. Therefore these codes are important because they were written with hindsight, the codes are based on fires that have happened repeatedly, and will happen again if not followed. Ignoring the codes is not only wrong, but dangerous.
For the complete list of codes for the State of NH : NH Fire Safety
2. What is green wood and seasoned wood?
Why can't I burn green wood?
Green wood is quite simply wood
that has not been dried yet (either by time or a kiln). Seasoned wood
has 20% moisture content or less. The difficulty is that what most
people sell as "seasoned wood" isn't. Wood must be cut, split, stacked
and kept dry for at least one year to be seasoned wood. A tree that was
cut down a year ago but not cut and split will not produce instantly
seasoned wood, the bark will have prevented much of the water
evaporation that needed to happen. Green wood does not burn well,
producing much more creosote and much less heat than properly seasoned
wood. The difference in BTU output between wood with 50% moisture
content to one with 20% moisture content is over 2000 BTUs per pound.
Burning green wood is wasting heat. As a rule of thumb try to purchase
and stack your wood a year in advance. We sell an easy to use moisture
meter if you need one to check your wood supply.
3. How important is "clearance to combustibles"? My install manual
says the stove is too close to the wall but it didn't catch on fire and
we used it all last year. And isn't a layer of brick under a stove
Just because a material is non combustible doesn't mean it can't
transfer heat through to a combustible wall or floor. Ignition
temperatures of combustibles lowers with repeated heating, called
pyrolization. Pyrolysis is the chemical decomposition caused by heat.
The normal ignition temperature of wood may be around 500 degrees, but
pyrolized wood will catch fire at 250 degrees. If the wood around your
heat source looks blackened it is pyrolized. It may not catch fire immediately, but it will catch
fire. Depending on the stove it can take several layers of brick,
with sufficient air spacing, and sheet metal on top, to make a safe
floor protection. Brick, tile and stone are all non combustible, but
they all transfer heat and cannot be used safely unless done correctly.
(Think about walking on your paved driveway barefoot in the summer, the
driveway won't catch fire, but it can be so hot that you can't walk on
it. That is heat transference).
4. Why can't I clean my own
You can, if you have the proper
equipment. Brushing a flue is not rocket science. So why call us? Well,
you brush your own teeth everyday, but you still go to a dentist to get
a professional cleaning with better equipment and also his evaluation of
what is happening in your mouth, problems that need to be addressed like
gum disease or cavities. Same thing with a professional sweep, we clean
the flues with better quality equipment, have more tools at our
disposal, won't make a mess in your house, and can check your flues for problems that you may not see,
such as cracks in the flue tiles, water damage, animal nests, evidence
of small chimney fires, etc. For more see
or Chimney Sweeping
5. My chimney flues only have a
few small cracks, why do I need a liner?
First, according to the National
Fire Protection's Fire Codes (which are used in NH and ME) any crack in
a flue tile is cause for "condemning" the chimney. Cracks can allow flue
gases back into your home (carbon monoxide) or creosote into the space
around the flue or into the walls of your home. This creosote can catch
on fire and the fire can spread rapidly through the walls of your home.
Clay flues tiles can not be individually replaced because they are
stacked and fragile. Metal liners will actually improve the venting of
your appliance and is easier to clean, keeping your home safer. For more
see Chimney Liners
or Metal Chimneys
6. What do you heat with in your
Mark Jones uses a pellet stove as
his primary heat source in his home, he does have an oil hot water
heater and and oil furnace for back up, but has not turned on the furnace
as a primary heat source for several years. He only uses premium pellets. There is
minimal difference between hard wood or soft wood pellets. For more see
Which fuel is right for me? The
difference is what your stove prefers. Some stoves burn better using
soft wood pellets, it is not like burning pine in a wood stove. These
are processed, no pitch is left in them.
If you have any other
questions please either call us or email Mark, there is no such thing as
a silly question, we will be happy to take the time to talk with you and
explain whatever you need.
We will be adding to these
questions frequently. If you have a question that you feel should be
addressed on this page please email it to Laura.