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How To Ensure Your Wood Burner Installation Is Safe

Everyone knows that burning logs produces heat, but it is truly amazing just how many folk seem blithely unaware how incredibly hot wood burners can get and how much damage this amount of heat can cause to their surroundings.

Floors and walls must therefore be properly protected by maintaining a suitable gap and/or by installing a thermal shield. It is common to protect the floor by mounting the wood burner on a hearth or floor plate of some description. Simple bricks will usually suffice but for more contemporary stove designs you might prefer to purchase a proprietary product made of glass or steel which will complement and significantly enhance the overall look.

Where walls are concerned, you need to allow a clearance of 48 inches from the burner itself and allow 3 times the diameter of the stovepipe as the clearance around that. These clearances allows sufficient air space to prevent any damage, but it may not be either visually appealing or convenient to have your wood burner protrude so far into the room. You can however significantly reduce these safe distances by using heat shields.

Heat shields can be made from a variety of materials: steel of a suitable thickness; ceramic tiles; bricks; or a combination of these materials. Often the simplest solution is to either buy a shield that is already certified to meet the necessary safety standards or opt for a log burner that already incorporates heat shielding as a built in feature. In the latter case you can often move the burner as close as 6 inches from a wall without the need for additional shielding.

If you want to go down the DIY route then it is simple enough to make your own steel heat shield that will allow you to halve the distance between the burner and the wall. What you require is a plate constructed from 28 gauge (or thicker) steel and mounted on non-combustible spacers that provide a gap of at least 1 inch between the wall and the shield. This type of heat shield should extend to about 36 inches all around the wood burner and be mounted off the floor in order to permit free air flow behind the shield.

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