Whether you have a fireplace, wood stove, hot water tank, gas furnace, or oil furnace that utilizes the chimney, they all require maintenance, cleaning, and repair as needed. Try to imagine your chimney as being the lungs of your house. If your chimney is obstructed or blocked up with a bird’s nest, raccoon nest, or brick, your chimney will not be able to breathe which will result in carbon monoxide being released into your home.
The byproduct of wood is creosote, so even with normal cleaning and maintenance of the chimney, there is still the potential for a chimney fire to occur. However, the predominant factor is the intensity of the chimney fire and obviously a clean chimney will most certainly burn with less intensity than a chimney that has not been cleaned at all.
The main objective when burning wood is to get as close to complete combustion as possible. Avoid burning pine, wet, or green wood because this will cause incomplete combustion which will allow tar droplets to form onto the interior walls of the flue and a substantial creosote build up. If the creosote is ignited, it can burn to a temperature of 2,100 degrees Fahrenheit, and with much intensity.
Do's & Don'ts
ALWAYS have your chimney inspected annually and swept as necessary to reduce the risk of a chimney fire and carbon monoxide related incidents.
ALWAYS warm up your flue prior to starting a fire. Warming your flue will help to improve your drawl.
ALWAYS use hardwoods such as Oak and Cherry. These woods burn very hot and you get more complete combustion which produces less smoke, so you get less tar droplets/creosote, which in turn reduces the risk of a chimney fire.
NEVER burn pine or wet wood. These woods have a high moisture content and they tend to smolder producing a lot of smoke which is called incomplete combustion leaving tar droplets/creosote deposits that are flammable.
NEVER burn garbage, the fumes could be toxic and can also send sparks up the chimney and can catch existing creosote on fire. Chimney fires can burn in excess of 2,100 degrees.
NEVER use petroleum-based fuel to light a fire. This could easily engulf your entire home in flames in a matter of seconds.