Keeping Safe with Solid Fuel Stoves
Solid fuel stoves provide a dry and economical form of heat making thousands of boats on UK inland waterways very cosy.
However, there have been at least two dozen boaters hurt and several killed in using their solid fuel stoves in recent years. In dozens of other incidents where no one was hurt, boats and often homes, have been totally destroyed or contents severely damaged.
Taking lessons from these sad incidents, we point to four risks that must be avoided or managed, to stay safe using solid fuel stoves,-
- 'over-firing' of the stove leading to a boat fire;
- Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning due to the escape of stove flue gases into the cabin;
- Items and materials being too close and getting too hot for too long.
- Poor maintenance and misuse of the stove
Based on these points we'll help you to know what to look for to keep safe as you use your stove.
But don't igore our wood fuel wisdom - there's a viscous spiral of potential financial and health harm if you put the wrong logs in the stove.
The most critical period for personal safety are the sleeping hours. If trouble happens when you are asleep, the two most important factors in surviving unharmed is having working alarms, smoke and CO, and having an emergency plan that everyone aboard knows and can act on.
However preventing an incident is better dealing with one. So we have also advice for anyone thinking about installing a new or replacement solid fuel stove, or perhaps just replacing the chimney.
Even, 'if you are not renewing your stove, it may be able to improve safety dramatically by re-fitting the area immediately around the stove
See the New Stove, New Chimney section for tips
If feel unsure about how to install or run your stove, or if you've been checking it over and what you've found leaves you in doubt about your safety, ask a professional for advice or to fix any problems.
The guidance in this section of the BSS website concerning solid fuel stoves is supported by the Solid Fuel Association (SFA), HETAS, the Stove Industry Association and the Solid Fuel Technology Institute (Soliftec).