Tips for Burning Firewood at Home

There’s really nothing like cozy fire from a fireplace or a burn pit. Unfortunately, these 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:

Burn Well-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 wet wood, and of course, smoke equals pollution.

Choose the Right Type of Wood

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

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.

Burn Only Well Seasoned Wood in the Fireplace

Yes, the homeowner is allowed to use balled up newspaper as kindling but you should never use plastic, glossy pages from magazines, foil, particle board, coal, household waste, plywood, rags or anything synthetic, these should be kept out of the fire. The fumes that some of these materials give out are extremely toxic.

Don’t Leave The Fire Unattended

The fire should never be left unattended. Children and pets should be kept a safe distance from 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 everyone goes to bed.

Don’t Store Firewood in the Home

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

Split the Wood

Pile of firewood isolated on a white background

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

Store Wood Properly Outside

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

Build the Fire In the Back of the Firebox

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