Woodstoves and Mobile Home Safety

This article on woodstoves and mobile home safety provides tips and information on how to use woodstoves safely in more heat-conductive manufactured housing.


| September/October 1985


Woodstoves and mobile home safety. The pleasures and economic advantages of wood burning are now available to those of us who don't dwell in site-built homes. 

Woodstoves face some stiff competition from their more conventionally fired heat-producing brethren. After all, the energy represented by a 50-pound stoveload of wood is equivalent to that in just 2-1/2 gallons of fuel oil . . . and those logs have to be toted and hand-fed to the appliance!

Still, trees are a renewable energy source, one that—thanks to advances within the woodstove industry—is beginning to compare favorably with the accepted alternatives of gas, oil, and electricity. Wood combustion efficiencies are on the rise, solid fuel prices remain low, and woodstove aesthetics are as pleasing as ever.

Mobile home owners, however, should harbor a special respect for wood-burning heaters . . . in part because clearance distances from combustible surfaces will likely be reduced, and to some degree because the materials used in such manufactured housing are more heat-conductive than those often used in conventional structures. Less obvious is the fact that combustion—of any fuel—depletes the oxygen supply within a living space, and this can present a health hazard in itself.

WOODSTOVES AND MOBILE HOME SAFETY: PLAYING BY THE RULES

Before a woodstove may be installed in a mobile home, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires that specific regulations be satisfied. First, the stove model must have been tested by a HUD-approved laboratory and listed for use in mobile homes. A metal tag permanently fastened to the rear of the appliance indicates the name of the testing facility and the stove's compliance with HUD Standard UM-84. Second, a tested and listed prefabricated chimney system—connected directly to the stove and installed properly—must be used. Third, a hard ducting system for bringing outside combustion air directly to the stove's air inlet is required. And finally, some means of securing the stove to the floor of the home is called for.

In addition to the HUD requirements, some basic clearance and installation guidelines, provided by the stove manufacturer and based on testing to Underwriters' Laboratory Standard 1482, should be adhered to.





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