The importance of choosing the right firewood cannot be stressed enough. Having the wrong kind of firewood can cause all sorts of problems with your fireplace and chimney: smoke and odor problems and, even more hazardous, a fast build-up of creosote, which can cause chimney fires. How do you know which type of wood to buy for your fireplace? We at Ashbusters Charleston would like to give you some tips from the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA).
Tips On Selecting Firewood
- Always buy seasoned firewood. Even though all firewood contains water, seasoned wood typically contains around 20% of water while freshly cut “green” wood has around a 45% moisture content. Seasoned wood burns cleaner, provides more heat, and is much easier to ignite. We always recommend choosing seasoned firewood because it causes less creosote, a natural yet dangerously combustible residue left behind during the combustion process, to build up as quickly as burning unseasoned wood.
- Worry less about which tree the firewood came from. While it is true that some species of wood burn better, the most essential thing is that the wood is seasoned and dry.
- Never burn scrap wood from construction sites in your fireplace. While it may seem like a thrifty idea, scrap pieces of wood used in construction are usually treated or painted. Burning these scraps can release dangerous and toxic compounds, like arsenic, into your home.
- Be careful when burning artificial logs. While these logs are convenient when you want a quick fire, you must follow the instructions and only burn one artificial log at a time in an open fireplace. You should also take care with poking and moving these logs around while they are burning as they can possibly break apart and cause an out-of-control fire.
Other Helpful Tips About Firewood
- If you must use unseasoned firewood, you should have your chimney swept more often than the recommended annual cleaning. Since burning “green” wood causes creosote to build up more quickly and in larger amounts, the CSIA strongly suggests you call a CSIA-certified chimney sweep company, such as Ashbusters Charleston, for more cleanings throughout the year to prevent a chimney fire.
- Manage your woodpile. If you buy different species of wood, arrange the wood by when it will be burned. You will want to use the denser wood during the cold winter season and the lighter wood in the spring and fall.
- Store your firewood in the sun. The heat of the sun will dry out your wood for free. Remember that the wood must be dry before it will burn efficiently. Using “green” wood with a high water content wastes heat and energy by making the fire burn out all of the water. Plus, burning unseasoned wood creates large amounts of creosote build-up on your chimney walls.
If you have more questions about choosing the right kind of firewood, contact Ashbusters Charleston today. Our knowledgeable staff is experienced with helping our customers select the best wood for burning.