Goodbye, December…and now that we’re saying goodbye, it’s also time to bid farewell to the holiday season, celebrations, parties, and family…
Welcome to cold, bleak January.
As we turn up the heat, cozy up inside, and take extra long, hot showers, we begin to wonder if we’re also saying goodbye to a cheap energy bill. Before you open your next bill and get a mid-winter fright, have you thought about firing up your wood-burning stove for the season?
Join Wildcat Creek Tree Service, a tree service in Lafayette, Indiana, to get the best tips and tricks on how to use your wood burner more safely and efficiently this season.
Tip #1 – Keep That Chimney Clean
Getting a fire started is only half the battle—the other (and arguably most important) is keeping your chimney clean!
When you burn wood in a fireplace or wood burning stove, a byproduct of burnt wood called creosote builds up. Creosote can be extremely flammable, and the heat from a fire can cause it to ignite. It is recommended that you get your chimney inspected every year to check for a buildup of creosote and other possible obstructions. Other tips to keep your chimney clean include:
- Burn seasoned wood – Seasoned wood contains less than 20% moisture, so it is able to burn cleaner than freshly-cut wood. Wood generally becomes seasoned 6 months to a year after being split and stacked.
- Use Proper airflow – Avoid smoldering fires by ensuring that your fire is fed enough oxygen.
- Avoid Artificial Logs – Artificial logs produce large amounts of creosote, which can cause chimney fires. To help get your fire going, you can use other alternatives like kindling and newspaper.
Tip #2 – Not All Wood Is Produced Equal
Hardwoods, like hickory and oak, tend to provide more heat than softwoods. Though softwoods like cedar and pine may produce less heat, they tend to burn cleaner. Softwoods also burn faster, so it may be beneficial to include both types of wood within your burner.
Tip #3 – Keep Your Stove Clean
It is important to constantly clean soot from your wood stove and flue. A layer of soot in your wood burner prevents it from getting as hot as it can be. This causes the heat not to be conducted as well and to escape up the chimney.
Tip #4 – What Not to Burn
When it comes time to add fuel to the fire, what common materials can and cannot be burned?
Materials to avoid:
- Painted/treated wood
- Colored paper
- Fire accelerants
- Plywood or chipboard
- Dryer lint
Many of these materials, like colored paper, plastics, and dryer lint can release toxic chemicals and noxious gases when burned. Other materials, like gasoline and starter fluid, can cause flare-ups and heat your stove and chimney to unsafe temperatures.
Materials safe to burn:
- Dry kindling
- All-natural fire starters/Wax-free fire starters
- Manufactured Logs – 100% compressed sawdust or other options like tightly compressed newspaper logs
Tip #5 – Air Control
Wood burns the best when the draught control is completely open and flames are hot. When wood burns, it reacts with the oxygen in air, which allows wood to release heat and produce other byproducts like smoke and embers.
Where Can You Get Firewood?
When it comes to burning wood, only seasoned logs should be used. At Wildcat Creek Tree Service, we have local firewood for sale all year round. Whether you need firewood to help lower your energy bill during the winter, or firewood for your outdoor pit, our seasoned lumber is ready whenever you need it!