Whenever a wood stove or fireplace is used, it gets dirty, as does the stovepipe and flue. Most wood burners know regular chimney cleanings are important and have a cleaning performed at least every other year. But not everyone knows how great a role fire wood plays in keeping your flue clean. Proper wood cuts down on creosote deposits, the biggest contributor to chimney fires. To keep your chimney in good condition, follow these rules:
- Keep it Clean Your firewood should look like just that: wood. A bit of dust or dried mud is one thing, but wood that has been fished out of a pool of muck is not a good pick for the firebox. Mud is composed of minerals, clay, silt, sand and organic material. When mud-encrusted wood burns, the mud cooks. Various components of that mud either vaporize or get carried away with smoke and gas created by the burning wood. These components cool off as they travel up the flue. Guess where they get deposited. Best to rinse the mud off ahead of time (and give the wood a good drying).
- Keep it Dry Wet wood doesn’t burn well and even green wood, although not wet in the conventional sense, still contains a lot of moisture, sometimes approaching 45% water. Wet wood won’t burn until it’s dry. When added to a fire it will take a lot of heat to get the wood dried out. The resulting steam will go up the flue where it will condense. This is bad news for your flue and prolonged burning of wet wood will necessitate more frequent cleanings. It’s best to get your wood at least 6 months before burning so it can season.
- Keep it Firewood Don’t burn anything in your wood stove or fireplace that isn’t honest firewood. Construction debris, treated lumber or old furniture doesn’t belong on the wood rack. It often contains preservative chemicals, varnish and the like. When those non-wood products burn the byproducts end up lining your flue. Not only do they add to chimney deposits, they can also be flammable. Chimney fires are nobody’s friend. If it’s not firewood, don’t burn it.
To burn wood is to struggle against the depositing of creosote. All wood fires produce some degree of it and all chimneys will eventually need to be cleaned. If you burn wood in a fireplace or wood stove you have a lot of control over how much creosote ends up in your chimney. By using appropriate firewood you can keep the creosote to a minimum. For more advice on keeping your chimney in good condition or to schedule a cleaning, contact Fiddler On The Roof Chimney Service in Van Nuys, CA.
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