5 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Chimney this Burn Season
#1 – Prepare Your Wood Properly
Before burning firewood, you want to make sure that it’s properly dried and seasoned. If you choose to burn green or wet wood, you risk creating excessive smoke.
That means burning wet wood is basically wasting energy. Here are a few symptoms that you may experience when burning greenwood:
- Difficulty getting your fire going and keeping it burning
- Smoky fires with little flame
- Dirty glass
- Rapid creosote buildup in your chimney
- Low heat output
- The smell of smoke in your house
- Short burn times
- Excessive fuel consumption
- Blue-gray smoke from the chimney
We know that burning greenwood is not a good thing and can be dangerous. Here’s how you can tell when the wood is seasoned properly:
- Color – seasoned wood is much less vibrant than greenwood
- Weight – Seasoned wood doesn’t have as much moisture content and is much lighter than greenwood
- Hardness – drying wood makes it much harder.
- Bark – the bark on dry wood is loose, or maybe not even there.
- Cracks – You should be able to see cracks on the dry pieces of wood, extending from the center of the log and reaching towards the edges. You should know that not all dry logs will crack, while some green logs will crack.
- Sound – wet wood will produce a dull thud when struck against another piece. Dry wood will sound hollow.
- Smell – greenwood will smell stronger. As the wood dries, the sappy scent fades to a light woody smell
- Split test – you can split the wood to see if it feels dry on the inside. You should also be able to see if the wood is easier to split. Remember, most dried out wood is easier to split than greenwood.
- Flammability – Greenwood will be hard to light. It will smolder and create a lot of smoke. This tells you that it needs more time
- Moisture meter – The easiest and last of all is the moisture meter. This easy tool will allow you to check the moisture percentage within the wood. So when in doubt, or even much before that, use a moisture meter!
#2 – Make Sure You Use Local Wood
If you don’t want to cut and season your own firewood, I don’t blame you. It takes a long time and a lot of work.
But you should be sure to source your firewood from local distributors.
In addition to cutting down on your carbon footprint, you can also make sure that you are in compliance with state and local ordinances, which may restrict out-of-state firewood.
The EPA says: “Many states have firewood movement restrictions and/or out of state quarantines due to invasive pests.”
In other words, if you find wood that has been cut and stored more than a few miles away, don’t use it.
Using firewood that’s had to travel is the number one way to introduce invasive insects or diseases to a new environment.
Here’s a list of people in Roanoke, Christiansburg, and Lynchburg that you can buy seasoned firewood from:
- Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace – Buyer Beware
- Thompson Firewood – 540-816-5015
- Etter Tree Service – 540-342-8031
- Brooks & Co Tree Service – 540-929-4346
- Jay’s Tree Service – 540-589-3642
- Smith’s Sawmill – 540-230-1007
- American Mulch – 540-381-7830
- All Seasons – 540-922-2475
- Bradshaw Firewood – 304-952-0853
- Gallion Ridge Farms – 540-392-3638
- Curb Appeal Landscaping & Tree Service – 434-546-0335
- The Tree Man – 540-427-1945
- Aqua Pros – 540-389-1387
- Plow and Hearth – 540-265-5910
- Dixie Products – 540-342-6787
#3 – Learn to Build a Good Fire
Starting a fire in your fireplace can be pretty simple.
But there are ways that you build a strong-burning fire that will create more heat, but with less wood.
Here are the steps:
Step 1 – Start Small
Take dry kindling from your seasoned firewood and add to the fireplace.
Step 2 – Preheat the Chimney
Let the fire from your kindling burn. This should warm up the flue and sort of “activate” the process of letting heat rise.
Step 3 – Keep Space
Keep space between he firewood as you add more. Maintain a bright and hot fire. Be sure not to smother it. You want to keep enough oxygen circulating through your chimney.
Watch this video to learn more about building a fire:
#4 – Circulate the Air
The warmth of your fireplace tends to stay pretty close to home. The heat doesn’t seem to venture too far away.
Luckily, this isn’t too hard to fix.
You can move trapped hot air near the ceiling by instaling ceiling fans. Then run them counterclockwise on low speed.
This will push the warm air down and will redirect the warm air into your living space.
That quick fix is usually all you’d need to do to quickly increase the comfort levels and prevent your fire from going to waste!
#5 – Maintain Your Fireplace
The last tip that we have is that you make sure you have a certified chimney technician annually inspect your fireplace and chimney.
A certified technician will be able to check for any gaps, cracks, or creosote buildup that could cause a deficiency in airflow.
A clean chimney provides good draft and reduces the risk of chimney fires.