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Golden Valley Wood Burning Tips: What NOT to Burn in your Fireplace or Wood Stove

In addition to proper ventilation and annual chimney inspections in Golden Valley, burning the right type of fuel in your wood burning application is part of preventing chimney fires and other safety hazards. Making sure that you have installed interior and exterior spark arresters is also important in protecting your home and your property from potential fires created by embers.

If you have questions about choosing firewood, check our blog archives for more information on how to select and store your firewood. You can always call 2nd Generation Chimneys any time, and our fireplace and chimney experts will be glad to answer any further questions you might have.

In the meantime, here are some of the more common items that should NOT be burned in a fireplace or wood stove:

  • Cardboard and Garbage:  While this may seem obvious, many people think that burning trash and paper products, such as cardboard and magazines , is safe because they do not burn too hot; however, these products are typically treated with toxic chemicals that can be released into the air you breathe when you burn them.
  • Treated Wood and Construction Materials:  Like household garbage and cardboard, pressure-treated wood contains harmful chemicals that are released when burned, particularly stained or water-treated wood from decks or landscaping and rail road ties. This applies to construction scraps, such as plywood, particle board, gypsum board, press board, or any material that contains glue.
  • Ocean Driftwood:  When ocean driftwood is burned, it can release the sea salt and minerals that will turn into corrosive and toxic gases, which are harmful to your health and can damage your flue lining.
  • Green or Moldy Wood:  Wet or “green” wood causes excess smoking, creosote buildup, foul odors, and could potentially cause illness if the wood contains bacteria, mold, mildew, or other fungi.
  • Christmas Trees or Evergreens:  While all wood will create some creosote buildup, evergreens and trees that contain sap or heavy amounts of resin can create excess creosote. If you choose to burn this type of wood, be sure that you have your chimney cleaned and inspected  at least once a year, if not twice a year.

We also get many questions about burning artificial logs. Most fire safety experts agree that while these are convenient, they should only be used to start a fire if you do not have proper kindling. In addition, they should be burned in an open fireplace, and one at a time.

If you use fire starters, make sure you are careful about stirring the fire before they have completely burned, since moving them around could cause the fire to get too hot or out of control. Always read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully before you start the fire.

Don’t hesitate to give the fireplace experts at 2nd Generation Chimneys a call any time you have questions or concerns.

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