· Store wood outdoors, stacked neatly off the ground with the top covered.
· Burn only dry, well-seasoned wood that has been split properly.
· Start fires with clean newspaper and dry kindling.
· Burn hot, bright fires and use smaller fires in milder weather.
· Let the fire burn down to coals, then rake them toward the air inlet (and wood-stove door), creating a mound. Do not spread the coals flat.
· Reload your stove by adding at least three pieces of wood each time, on and behind the mound of hot coals. Avoid adding one log at a time.
· Keep all flammable household items — drapes, furniture, newspapers and books — far away from your wood stove.
· Never start a fire with gasoline, kerosene, charcoal starter or a propane torch.
· Do not use logs made from wax and sawdust in your wood stove or fireplace insert — they are made for open-hearth fireplaces. If you use manufactured logs, choose those made from 100 percent compressed sawdust.
· Build small, hot fires. A smoldering fire is not safe or efficient.
· Keep the doors of your wood stove closed unless loading or stoking the live fire.
· Regularly remove ashes from your wood stove into a metal container with a cover. Store the ashes container outdoors on a cement or brick slab (not on a wood deck or near wood).
· Keep a fire extinguisher handy.
Follow the above guidance to ensure your wood-burning stove performs safely. More information is available at www.epa.gov/burnwise/choosing-right-wood-burning-stove.