Starting a fire in your fireplace or wood stove on a cold winter day is a great way to take the chill out of the air, creating a warm, cozy setting where you can escape from the weather outside. Unfortunately, burning wood in a fireplace can cause a lot of pollution. If you aren’t ready to give up fires but want to do your part to minimize the amount of pollution that you are creating, try using these tips:
Green wood that has not properly aged not only is harder to light and doesn’t burn very well but it also puts off a lot of smoke. Kiln-dried wood, on the other hand, burns a lot hotter and gives off a lot less smoke, making it a more eco-friendly choice. You are always better get kiln dried logs near you, than to order in from further afield.
Some types of wood are better for burning than others. A good guideline to keep in mind is that hardwood from deciduous trees is almost always a better choice than softer wood from conifers. Coniferous wood tends to have a higher resin content, which can cause cinders to pop out of the fireplace onto the surrounding floor. Hardwood is almost always a better choice.
When a fire doesn’t get enough oxygen, it tends to give off a ton of smoke. Additionally, it doesn’t generate as much heat. Make sure to have your chimney cleaned on an annual basis, helping to ensure that there are no blockages that could interfere with the flow of oxygen or that could keep the smoke from safely exiting your home.
When you are first starting a fire, it is fine to use a few crumpled up pieces of newspaper to get the fire going. After that point, however, you should avoid burning anything in your fireplace that is not kiln-dried wood. Magazines, newspaper advertisements, garbage, fabric, or anything made from synthetic materials should never be burned in your fireplace. These items can potentially give off toxic fumes.
Only start a fire if you are planning on being in the room with it at all times. Make sure that the fireplace is well protected from both children and pets alike. Cats, in particular, are notorious for getting too close to fires, often resulting in injuries. Before you go to sleep at night, make sure that the fire is completely out.
Only gather as much firewood as you need. Keep it stored in a neat pile located well away from your home. Make sure it is protected from the elements. Avoid bringing the wood inside your home since it can provide habitat for rodents, insects, or other unwanted creatures.
Instead of burning large logs, only burn wood that has been split into pieces that measure approximately 4-6 inches across.
Your firewood should be stored under a roof so that it doesn’t get rained on or snowed on. The sides of the shelter should be open, however, so that the air can still circulate around the wood. You should also avoid stacking the wood directly on the ground. Otherwise, the bottom row of wood could rot.
When building a fire, make sure that it is positioned toward the back of the firebox. This will encourage the smoke to drift up the chimney rather than out into the room.