Burning wood in a fireplace produces smoke and gases, and there is no getting around that. While the by-products are unavoidable, you can minimize them and work to maintain the air quality in your home. Having a clean and properly functioning chimney helps, but it all starts with using the right firewood. If you select the right wood for your fireplace you can avoid so many problems that have plagued other homeowners for years. You will keep your home warmer for less, and make chimney maintenance less of a challenge.

The Wrong Firewood

This is bad not only for the chimney, but possibly for your health as well. Wood can be too green, or unseasoned for the fireplace. Poor storage can cause it to contain moisture. In such cases, burning it will produce more smoke, and it will have more particles which can cause health problems. Wet wood burns less efficiently, forcing you to use more fuel, so basically your money is going up in smoke. Another side effect of this is extra creosote in the chimney.

Choosing Firewood

Wood types behave slightly differently even when they are properly dried and stored under similar conditions. Some people like the wood that has that crackling sound when it burns. Others prefer to focus on efficient fires and having enough warmth. Fir is best known for the crackling sound, while hardwoods, which are denser, tend to provide more heat. Here are some easy ways to know that you are picking the right firewood for the home:

  • Dark or gray looking wood is usually drier
  • Knock pieces of wood together and if they produce a hollow sound, they are right for the fireplace
  • When you lift the pieces they should feel light, indicating that there is no water in it
  • If you are buying wood, the storage area should be dry and properly ventilated
  • Do not pick wood from the top of the pile as it these are probably the freshest pieces. Look for the older, drier pieces below
  • The best firewood should have little or no bark on it. The bark might indicate that there is still some moisture in the wood.

Choosing the right fireplace will protect your chimney and its components, so it is not something to take lightly. You can find wood anywhere, but it might not be the right choice, even if it seems dry enough. If you buy wood instead of harvesting your own, always deal with a reputable supplier.

Give us a call at 610-626-2439 to schedule an appointment for a consultation. Our chimney experts at Lou Curley’s Chimney service are CSIA (Chimney Safety Institute of America) Certified. You’re sure to get the best quality care when you call us for a consultation, chimney inspection, chimney cleaning, or chimney repair.