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Can The Wood I’m Burning Affect My Chimney?

Firewood PileFreelance writer, Wesley Foldessy, contributed this article on behalf of Premier Firewood Company, a firewood delivery company serving New York and Connecticut.

Can The Wood I’m Burning Affect My Chimney?

Chimney maintenance can be both time-consuming and expensive. When we think about what wood we are burning, a couple questions should come to mind;

  1. Is what we are burning harming our chimney and possibly putting our house in danger?

And,

  1. Do different types of wood have that much of an impact on the result of those dangers?

Of course not all of us are experts when it comes to owning a fireplace but luckily the information to chimney safety has been provided readily by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The main focus is the buildup of Creosote and the potential for fire and damage to your chimney and/or house. More could be further explored, however, about the various chemicals wood can throw off to the infestation of insects. Here are a few examples of the do and don’ts of wood burning.

Air Poisoning

Never burn anything that has been treated or painted for construction purposes. This can be anything from wood from a deck to landscaping ties. This can cause the release of arsenic and other dangerously toxic chemicals into the air.

Freshly Cut

Burning freshly cut, unseasoned wood in your fireplace is not recommended. This can cause a high amount of creosote to build up in the fireplace and continue to increase the risk of house fires.

Wood Storage

Storing wood properly and effectively normally involves using a wood shed or using a wood rack. This assists in getting better seasoned wood or keeping the wood that you already have seasoned, effective and ready to use.

Proximity Storage

Firewood StorageWhen storing wood, be cautious about how much wood you store near your house. This wood can attract termites and therefore may infest your home. Keep only a week’s worth of wood near your house and try to purchase insect free wood.

Smart Storage

Keep in mind that your wood-pile can be ruined by poor storage. Open to an abundance of precipitation your wood will reabsorb large amount of water. This can cause the wood to rot, mold and make it unfit for burning. The moisture also increases the buildup of creosote. In order to prevent this use a cover or refer to wood storage on how to save your firewood. Make sure however, that your cover has proper ventilation.

Moisture Content

All firewood contains water. Freshly cut firewood can contain around 45% of water while freshly seasoned wood can contain around 25% of water. This difference in water not only affects how quickly the wood ignites, but more importantly how clean it will burn. A high content of water will release gallons of acidic water into your chimney and will create all sorts of creosote buildup.

Hardwoods vs. Softwoods

firewood optionsAlthough firewood is sold in volumes, the heat production is affected by its weight. A cord of softwood is the same volume as that of its hardwood brother but weighs about twice as much. Therefore you should always consider investing in hardwood as its potential to burn is double that of softwood.

Artificial Logs

Though sometimes more convenient to store, artificial logs are not the best choice when it comes to fire safety. They tend to have more creosote buildup and therefore end up being less convenient in the long term.

Kiln Dried Firewood

Kiln dried firewood has the lowest moisture content ranging from anywhere between 10-15%. It is very affective at igniting and burning and prevents many problems arising from creating creosote in your chimney. It gives up to 35% more heating output and is usually kept insect, bug and mold free by the companies who sell it. This is by far the most efficient and protective wood to burn in your chimney.

Fireplaces tend to bring families together and huddling around a fire with your loved ones can warm even the coldest nights. Hopefully, armed with this information you will be able to rest easy and burn the most efficient and safe fires in your fireplace this winter season.

Northeastern Chimney, Inc
37 Cody Street, West Hartford, CT 06110
Phone: 860-233-5770

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