Many homeowners love to have their fireplace as the centerpiece of their house, however, they are not always sure of proper practices to maintain the fireplace and chimney. Also, fireplace users are not always using the right kind of wood to burn, which over time can cause problems in the chimney. Even if you like the “wood smell” that comes from the fire, this could mean more creosotes are being produced. This smell also means you should check into a chimney sweep. Mason’s Chimney is ready and willing to help you keep your chimney in good working order.
What kind of wood is optimal? One of the most important things about good firewood is that its dry, or it will be hard to ignite and will produce more smoke. You can tell if the wood is dry by its weight because it will be lighter in weight and has cracks in the end grain. Also, by hitting two pieces of dry wood together you will hear a hollow sound, where as with wet wood it will just be a thud. Coloring is also different because as it seasons it goes to gray or yellow instead of white or cream. Wet wood increases the creosote produced, which if not cleaned can become dangerous.
Also, other than chemical properties, wood also has physical properties that need to be considered. The length should be the same throughout which will help with both stacking and burning. The pieces of wood you use to make your fire should be two inches shorter than the firebox so they aren’t jammed. There is also a proper size range, which for modern heaters is fairly small. Smaller pieces burn more quickly and produces less smoke. This also means less waste. They also dry faster than larger pieces of wood. However, old cast-iron stoves need the larger pieces because if given too many smaller pieces the fire will burn too hot, too fast. For newer heaters, wood pieces should not exceed six inches across, three to six being the average. Hardwood tree species are the best places to retrieve the best firewood. Just remember, less smoke means better wood.
Now is the time to get your wood supply ready. Make sure when you purchase wood, that you are buying properly seasoned wood that is not treated. It is also a good time to have your chimney cleaned and inspected before the nights get cool and you want a roaring fire. Call Mason’s Chimney today to schedule your inspection by a certified sweep.