While a fireplace is relatively easy to use, this does not mean that you should take it for granted. There are a few mistakes you can make that will cause it to perform less efficiently. A few missteps could also affect your family’s health.

Avoid burning the following items to ensure that you are using your fireplace properly and that you don’t put your health at risk.

Painted or treated wood – this can release toxic chemicals into the home and puts your family’s health at risk

Plastic material – this also releases chemicals, plus it will be difficult to clean up

Leftover construction materials – these materials are usually treated with various chemicals which may be dangerous to breathe

Garbage – your fireplace is not a garbage disposal, plus doing this will produce bad odors such as burned or rotten food smells throughout the home

Any one of these can eventually end up causing problems for your fireplace and chimney. You could be looking at a difficult clean-up job, or you may be forced to replace damaged parts of the fireplace. The safest thing to do is to treat your fireplace like you would any other appliance in the home and use it properly.

Burn Properly Seasoned Wood

The first and one of the most important tips for using your fireplace is to ensure that the wood is seasoned. This means that it should have had enough time to dry properly, reducing the moisture content. Wood with too much water will take longer to burn, and it will produce more smoke and creosote. So, properly dried wood means a healthier fireplace that you won’t have to clean too often.

Burn Properly Sized Wood

To ensure that the wood dries properly, cut it into short lengths or split it. This speeds up the process and leaves you with wood that is always ready to burn. Keep the wood off the ground when you store it, and make sure that the storage space is not damp. Proper air circulation will keep the wood dry and prevent rotting.

Don’t Overstuff the Firebox

It is also important that you avoid stuffing the fireplace with wood. This will limit air circulation and make it difficult for the fire to catch and burn efficiently. Overstuffing the firebox with wood isn’t the right solution for a longer-burning fire.

Take Care with Artificial Logs

Artificial logs work great when your options are limited, but this should not be the regular source of heat for your home. These usually come with special instructions, so read them carefully before using. You should also use caution when choosing artificial logs. Some of these products may contain compounds that are not good for your fireplace.

Follow Proper Maintenance Routines

You can get the most out of your fireplace if the chimney is in top shape. If you have any doubts about this, call us at Lou Curley’s Chimney Service at 610-626-2439 for an inspection. We will tell you whether there are any problems that need to be addressed.