Ontario Specifications & Guidelines for Installing an Indoor Wood Furnace

Wood-burning furnaces can release harmful toxins into the air.
Wood-burning furnaces can release harmful toxins into the air. (Image: campfire full of burning wood image by Irina Igumnova from Fotolia.com)

Indoor wood furnaces might be a popular option for residential heating alternatives to replace the customary oil-burning furnace. New wood pellet-burning furnaces offer some advantages over the traditional wood-burning and oil furnaces including financial and ecological benefits. However, there are safety laws and precautions you should know before installing an indoor wood furnace.

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Building Code Act

When installing a wood burning furnace into your home, follow Ontario Building Code Act section 9.22, which directly refers to fireplaces in residences. You will have to meet requirements for liners, wall thickness, air combustion, fire chambers and dampers. By following these regulations, you will be help to prevent harmful emissions from entering your home as well as the air outside.


The main issue with wood-burning furnaces is the stoves do not reach a high enough temperature to completely burn the wood. This can release toxins such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and formaldehyde, according to the Ontario Ministry of the Environment. When purchasing a wood-burning furnace, look for one that uses advanced combustion technology, which will help to burn the wood more completely.

Chimney Maintenance

Continual maintenance of your chimney is vital to the safety and efficiency of your wood-burning furnace. This not only includes regular cleanings but also inspections. Look for soot and creosote buildup, which can cause a chimney fire. Every chimney should be properly capped to prevent snow and rain damage.


Remove any combustible materials from the vicinity of the wood furnace. Your home should be equipped with carbon monoxide alarms to warn you and your family of any harmful emissions. Burning dry wood helps to prevent the buildup of creosote and gives you the most efficient fire.


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