Woody View Farms Firewood Company
Valparaiso, Indiana 46385
Follow These Tips on Clean Burning
Toll Free: 800-738-8065
Heat More Efficiently and Reduce Air Pollution!
1. Burn a Mix of Softwoods, Hardwoods, Pressed Logs
Start Your Fire With Softwood Kindling
Softwoods (pine, fir) are generally low in density, ignite easily, burn fast and hot and will heat the firebox and flue quickly. They're ideal for kindling and starting your fires but form creosote easily due to the high resin (sap) content.
Burn Longer and Cleaner With Hardwood and/or Manufactured Densified Logs
Hardwoods (oak, orchard) are denser and take longer to ignite, but burn slower and more evenly, producing less smoke. They also provide more heat energy than softwood logs the same size. Densified logs are compressed sawdust (no wax); at 8600 Btu/lb, they burn longer and emit 25 to 50% less PM10, CO and VOCs than burning cordwood.
2. Burn Only "Seasoned" Firewood!
Firewood should dry, or "season" 6 to 12 months minimum after splitting. Hardwoods dry slower than softwoods and some may take over a year to dry. "Seasoned" firewood by definition contains 20 per cent moisture or less by weight. The warmer the storage area, and the more air circulation, the faster the drying time.
To Speed Drying:
Split and Stack - logs dry from the outside in, so split big logs right away for faster drying. Stack loosely in a crosswise fashion to get good air circulation.
Store High & Dry - Stack a foot or more above the ground and away from buildings in a sunny, well-ventilated area. Cover the top to keep dew and rain off the wood, but leave the sides open to breezes.
3. Buy Wood Advertised as "Seasoned" Carefully
> Dark colored, cracked ends, with cracks radiating from the center like bicycle spokes.
> Light in weight, meaning there's little moisture left - but hardwood logs will weigh more than softwood.
> Sound - hit two pieces together. Wet wood makes a dull "thud" sound. Dry wood rings with a resonant "crack," like a bat hitting a ball.
> Easily peeled or broken bark. No green should show under the bark.
4. Don't Burn Anything but clean, Seasoned Wood, Manufactured Logs, and Nonglossy White Paper
No Garbage, Plastics, Rubber, Waste Solvent, Paint or Oil, No Painted or Treated Wood, Particleboard, Plywood, or Saltwater Driftwood, No Coal or Charcoal Briquettes, and No Glossy or Colored Paper. Burning these materials can produce noxious, corrosive smoke and fumes which may be toxic and can foul your catalytic combustor, your flue, and the lungs of your family and neighbors. Warning: kiln-dried lumber vaporizes too rapidly, causing creosote buildup.
5. Build a Small, HOT Fire First To Preheat the Firebox & Chimney
> Open Damper Wide - allow in maximum air to fuel the fire. And leave it and other air inlets open for 30 minutes.
> Start Small & Hot - leave a thin layer of ash for insulation. Crumple a few sheets of newspaper and add some small pieces of kindling, then light. Add bigger kindling a few at a time as the fire grows. Get it burning briskly to form a bed of hot coals. Now add 2 or 3 logs.
> Position the logs you add carefully - place close enough together to keep each other hot, but far apart enough to let sufficient air (oxygen) move between them.
Light & Refuel Your Fire Quickly and Carefully, As These Are The Two Times It Will Smoke the Most.
6. Refuel While the Coals Are Still Hot!
Open the draft controls and damper one minute before opening the stove door. This helps prevent backpuffing of smoke into the room.
Preheat again by placing a few pieces of kindling on the red hot coals. Add more as they catch fire. Add a few larger pieces. Small, frequent loading smokes less than a big load in most older stoves.
After refueling, leave the dampers and inlets open for about 30 minutes. The fire will get plenty of air and burn hot, retarding creosote formation (most forms early in a burn). You'll know the chimney is heated again when the new logs burn vigorously.
7. Maintain Your Fire Properly - Watch the Temperature
Don't Close the Damper or Air Inlets Too Far - the fire will smoke from lack of air.
Follow the Stove Manufacturer's Instructions Carefully. And be sure that any family member who operates the stove is also familiar with these instructions.
Your Actions Determine How Efficiently Your Stove Will Operate. A good stove is designed to burn cleanly and efficiently, but it can't do its job right if you don't cooperate.
8. Lights Out, Fires Out!
Do NOT to Burn Overnight - it's a major fire hazard. And it's too tempting to choke the fire for air to slow burning, and then pollute the neighborhood all night. This can also lead to backdrafting the smoke into your own home, causing very hazardous indoor air pollution.
Build a Small, Hot Fire and Let It Burn Out Completely, relying on your home's insulation to hold in enough heat for the night. Then Close the Damper Tightly.
9. Heating in Warmer Weather
If a small space heater won't suffice, open the air controls wide and build a small, hot fire, using more finely split wood, and let it burn out. Trying to reduce the heat from a big fire by reducing its air supply leads to smoldering, creosote buildup and air pollution.
10. Watch for Smoke Signals!
Get into the habit of glancing out at your chimney top every so often. Apart from the half hour after lighting and refueling, a properly burning fire should give off only a thin wisp of white steam. If you see smoke, adjust your dampers or air inlets to let in more air. The darker the smoke, the more pollutants it contains and the more fuel is being wasted.
11. Inspection and Upkeep - For Safety's Sake
Periodic inspection of your stove or fireplace is essential to ensuring its continued safe and clean-burning operation. Be sure you carefully check, and repair as needed, the:
- Chimney Cap can be plugged by debris which will reduce draft.
- Chimney should be cleaned professionally at least once a year to remove creosote buildup.
- Catalytic Combustor holes can plug up; follow instructions to clean.
- Stovepipe angles and bolts are particularly subject to corrosion.
- Gaskets on airtight stove doors need replacement every few years.
- Seams on stoves sealed with furnace cement may leak. Eventually the cement dries out, becomes brittle, and may fall out.
- Firebrick may be broken or missing.
- Grate or stove bottom where the fire is built - this may crack or break.
Never Forget That There is a Box With a FIRE in it Inside Your House. And Creosote Can Fuel a Chimney Fire That'll Burn Your House Down.
Information From: The Bay Area Air Quality Management District. (www.sparetheair.org)