Wood-Burning Stoves and the Dangers of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Wood-Burning Stoves and the Dangers of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

A wood-burning stove brings a great deal of warmth and joy to your home. But just like all forms of heating, it can bring some dangers. Perhaps the biggest of those risks is carbon monoxide.

Accidental carbon monoxide poisoning kills 40 people across England and Wales every year. That figure includes deaths from a variety of different sources, not just stoves. Carbon monoxide is always generated when fuels such as gas, oil, coal and wood are burnt. Problems only occur when the gas is allowed to build-up in a confined space.

Fortunately, there are a few very simple measures that you can take to keep you and your family safe. Just follow the tips below.

Get a carbon monoxide alarm

You can’t smell or hear a carbon monoxide leak, so a special carbon monoxide alarm is an absolute must. Building regulations have made fitting one of these alarms a legal requirement for all stoves installed since 2010.

It is worth getting an alarm even if you’ve had a stove for a while. It is an investment of £25 that will save your life in the event that you do have a carbon monoxide leak.

Use a HETAS approved installer

The best way of preventing a carbon monoxide leak is to use a professional wood-burning stove installer when you first buy a stove. Find a HETAS approved installer to fit your stove. That will give you the peace of mind to know that the job has been done safely and by the book.

A huge proportion of carbon monoxide leaks related to wood-burning stoves are caused because the a stove was installed badly in the first place. If your stove is fitted properly, there is very little chance that gases will leak from it.

Ventilate your room

Having a good supply of air to the room where the stove is fitted is important to ensure your appliance operates efficiently. Ventilation also helps to avoid a deadly build-up of carbon monoxide in the event that you do have a leak.

Look out for tell-tale signs

Black, soot marks on the walls around your stove could indicate a carbon monoxide leak. If you spot these, it is worth getting a HETAS approved fitter to check for any problems.

Equally, an accumulation of smoke in any of your rooms would suggest there is a problem with your flue. If smoke is leaking out, carbon monoxide could be, too.


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Gr8Fires 2018-01-19 11:55:11
@ martyn Hi Martyn There is always a risk whenever something is being burnt. You can really remove
the risk unless your don't do the burning (regardless of whether it's a woodburner, boiler and gas
appliance). Peace of mind comes from an alarm (which is now a legal requirement) and regular
maintenance to check for any potential leaks. Thanks, Gr8Fires

martyn 2018-01-17 12:20:33
Hello, Would using cured dried logs and a defra exempt appliance produce less carbon monoxide? Also
is there still a risk of co poisoning once an appliance has passed a smoke test? regards martyn

Janet Terry 2017-12-20 10:50:33
I have found that putting wood in your stove on the coals and leaving it closed up causes the wood
to lie there and smolder which gives me a headache. If I open up the stove draft and let the wood
catch on fire for awhile, then shut the draft down it works much better, no headaches, just don't
forget and leave it until it is to hot!

Gr8Fires 2017-01-16 12:09:26
@ Mrs Jess Williams Hi Mrs Williams, Certainly burning wet logs would create more smoke, which is
bad for you and the environment. Have you got a carbon monoxide alarm fitted, just to make sure it's
nothing more serious? Thanks, Gr8Fires

MRS JESS WILLIAMS 2017-01-11 15:24:09
hi just wanted you to no we had a stove put in just before xmas it was ok for a week or so but now i
fell the fumes in my thoat from it and a headache got a alarm ,is it possible that wet logs causes
that as my husband has left them out in the rain . i cant stand being in house at the moment

Gr8Fires 2016-08-08 08:31:04
@ Andrew Trend Hi Andrew, We'll get hold of a digital copy from the manufacturer for you and
forward them to the email address you posted your comment from when we have it. Thanks, Gr8Fires

Andrew Trend, 2016-08-07 17:41:59
The Thorma Bozen s/n 15045251 arrived speedily and safely. But I have yet to locate any instructions
in English. Have you a translation into English available? i Have used wood stoves before but each
one has had individual characteristics and operational requirements. I am keen to run the stove
safely and efficiently, so I hope a translation will be forthcoming. Thank you.A,T,