Wood Burning Tips
There is nothing like a roaring fire during the cold winter months
to take the chill out of the air or a soft flickering flame and
glowing embers to set a romantic atmosphere. However, along with
all the benefits of a fire and fireplace also come precautions and
various factors to be aware of for safety.
One of the most hazardous aspects of burning a fire is something
not seen. Creosote is the after product of smoke from your burning
wood mixed with moisture. When you burn wood, that is unseasoned,
or if your fire is burned at a low flame, creosote is formed. When
creosote builds in the chimney, the buildup can cause a fire that
burns inside the chimney and stovepipes, resulting in a house fire.
When you burn your fire, listen for any kind of whooshing sound of
glowing stovepipes, which can be indicators that creosote has built
By installing a magnetic thermometer to use on your stovetop or a
fireplace thermostat, you can check to ensure you are burning your
fire at a safe rate. Additionally, always keep a fire extinguisher
within close proximity of your fireplace or wood burning stove in
case a fire should break out. The cost of a thermostat and fire
extinguisher are well worth the investment when it comes to saving
Always remember that the type of wood you burn does not have any
impact on the build up of creosote. Fires starting with creosote
burn at 2,000 degrees and can be difficult to extinguish. Therefore,
preventive measures are the best. To keep your home safe, following
are a few recommendations:
- ALL wood should be seasoned for a minimum of six months and stored under cover. Hardwoods such as fruitwood or oak are the best options.
- Never use an oversized stove. You want the stove to burn BTUs that match your heating needs.
- Low burning fires cause creosote buildup.
- When a stove, keep as much of the chimney as possible inside the home. This will allow the chimney to heat quicker and stay warm even after the fire is out, giving you more efficiency.
- Stovepipes have joints that are designed to bend. The pipe sitting on the top of the stove should always go up into the flue collar, not around the exterior.
- If a fire breaks out, shut off the air supply immediately by closing off the dampers and any other air openings. If your door is open, close it. Once the air supply is gone, the fire will be easier to extinguish. If you cannot get control of the fire quickly, call 911 and get the family out of the house!