A cozy and warm fire is so inviting on these cold days of winter. Whether we’re settled in front of the fire playing a board game, snuggled up with the kids reading stories or just sitting by ourselves engrossed in a good book, the warmth that emanates from our wood stove or fireplace is comforting.
To ensure uninterrupted enjoyment from that heat, certain wood burning practices should be followed.
- Burn only dry wood. Wet or unseasoned wood will give off a lot of smoke as the fire attempts to burn off the moisture. Because it’s burning off moisture, it’s not providing heat. Also, this smoky exhaust will move slowly up the flue, leaving behind an excessive amount of residue.
- Do not burn household wastes such as plastic, painted wood, manufactured wood products and wood treated with preservatives. These products release very toxic chemicals when they’re burned and therefore should never be used.
- Starting your fire may differ from the way your neighbour starts his fire, because no two wood burning systems are the same. If you have a new system, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to build your fire. Some people swear by the top-down method where large pieces of fire wood sit at the bottom of the stove, with smaller pieces placed on top of them and finishing with the kindling on top of it all. Others find that the conventional method of placing the kindling at the bottom with progressively larger pieces on top works best for their wood burning system. Trial and error will help you figure out which is best for your system.
- Ashes will have to be removed in order to allow for proper combustion of the firewood. During the cold months, it’s likely that there will still be hot coals in your stove when you remove the ashes. By using a small metal shovel or trowel to slowly deposit the ashes into a metal pail you minimize the dust. These ashes should then be dumped outside, into a larger metal container away from all combustibles.
- Regular maintenance will also keep your wood burning appliance in good working order. Having your wood burning wood stove or fireplace serviced by a WETT certified technician will ensure that the accumulated creosote is removed and that any parts that may have worn out are either replaced or repaired if possible.
By following these practices, you are also extending the life of your wood burning appliance.