Wood burning is still a popular way to provide the home with supplemental heating and lower heating costs. This adds a sense of comfort on cold nights, but you should also be concerned about making efficient, safe fires. Here are some simple rules to burning wood in your fireplace.
- Use only seasoned wood. Wood that still has moisture produces more smoke and creosote during burning. You will need to use more of it to get adequate heat from the fireplace, so fuel will be wasted.
- Never burn garbage in the fireplace. The only suitable material for burning in the fireplace is wood, or you can sometimes use artificial logs. Burning treated wood, or garbage including printed materials and discarded packaging can produce toxic fumes and strong odors in the home.
- Control the size of the fire. A fire that is too large will waste fuel, and if it is too small it will take longer to get going. This can also waste fuel, and it will produce more smoke. Avoid putting too many logs in the fireplace. Aim for a fire that is a reasonable size that gives you the right amount of heat.
- Monitor the chimney draft. When you light a fire, check to make sure that the smoke is going up and out of the chimney the way it should.
- Maintain a safe area. Keep furniture, rugs and decoration a safe distance away from the fireplace to avoid contact with loose embers. Make sure that kids do not leave toys or books lying around near the fireplace.
- Clean the fireplace. Cleaning out the ashes before starting the next fire improves efficiency. Make sure the ashes are cool before starting, and always use a metal container.
- Install carbon monoxide detectors. This dangerous gas can enter the home without warning, so keep your family safe by using detectors.
- Do not leave a fire unattended. Never start a fire and then leave it burning while you are away from home or in another room. Put out the fire completely before going to bed.
To use your fireplace safely, you should also pay attention to the health of your chimney. Do not start a fire if there is a blockage or heavy creosote buildup. Get annual inspections done by a sweep to ensure that the fireplace and chimney will perform well during winter.
Fireplace Safety and Chimney Inspections in Clifton Heights
We have two CSIA Certified chimney sweeps standing by to assist you with your chimney needs. Give us a call at 610-626-2439 to schedule an appointment for a chimney inspection or cleaning. We provide chimney services throughout the Main Line region.