9 Tips for Burning Firewood at Home

fire burning

There’s really nothing like a roaring, cozy fire from a home fireplace. Unfortunately, home fireplaces do put a lot of pollution into the air even as some people find them irresistible on chilly nights. Here are some tips that can allow a homeowner to enjoy his or her fire while cutting down on the toxins:

1. Burn Kiln-Dried Firewood

This type of wood is easier to light and once lit it makes far more heat. It also doesn’t smoke as much as green wood, and of course, smoke equals pollution.

2. Choose the Right Type of Wood

As a rule of thumb it’s best to avoid conifers and softwoods like pine and cedar. They have too much resin in them and cedar has been known to actually pop out of the grate onto the floor. Hardwoods, from trees that lose their leaves in the fall, are the best for burning.

3. Make Sure the Fire Gets Oxygen

A fire that’s not getting enough air/oxygen will smoke and won’t burn as hot. The homeowner should check the chimney or have a chimney sweep check the chimney to make sure there are no bird’s nests or other detritus in it.

4. Burn Only Kiln-Dried Wood in the Fireplace

Yes, the homeowner is allowed to use balled up newspaper as kindling but nothing else save kiln-dried hardwood. Plastic, glossy pages from magazines, foil, particle board, coal, household waste, plywood, rags or anything synthetic should be kept out of the fire. The fumes that some of these materials give out are extremely toxic.

5. Don’t Leave The Fire Unattended

The fire should never be left unattended. Children and pets also shouldn’t be left unattended around a fire. Cats have been known to curl up so close to a fire that their fur catches on fire. The fire should also be allowed to burn itself out at night before the household goes to bed.

6. Don’t Store Firewood in the Home

The homeowner should only have as much firewood as he or she needs. The humidity the wood brings in can contribute to mold. Moreover, varmints might be hiding in the wood that the homeowner might not want in the house.

7. Split the Wood

Splitting the wood will also help it burn cleaner. It should be split into pieces about four to six inches around.

8. Store Wood Properly Outside

Ideally, wood should be stored in a sheltered area with a roof but no sides to help air circulate. The pile should be stacked a few inches off the ground so the bottom logs don’t rot.

9. Build the Fire In the Back of the Firebox

This will make sure that smoke goes up the chimney and not into the room.