Make Your Wood-Burning Fireplace Eco-Friendly

You can enjoy your wood burning fireplace while finding comfort in knowing that you are using it in an eco-friendly way. Reduce the negative environmental impact of your wood-burning system by paying heed to the following advice.

Don’t Burn Toxic Materials

If you burn treated wood, toxins and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are released into the atmosphere. Never burn cardboard, pallets, particle board, or wood that has been painted, glued, or chemically treated. Driftwood should not be burned, either, because it releases chlorine gas as the ocean salt (sodium chloride) in it is burned.

Don’t Burn Unseasoned Firewood

When combustion is incomplete, nitrogen oxides (NO and NO2), destructive greenhouse gases, are released; these contribute to ozone depletion. Nitrogen dioxide is odorous, brown, and particularly toxic. More particulate matter is released, as well, due to incomplete combustion. Health problems such as lung issues can be the result of exposure to too much particulate matter. To avoid these environmental issues, do not burn green firewood or firewood that has not had a proper amount of time to dry out sufficiently. When wood is well-seasoned, it is usually dark or grayish in color, as opposed to being green on the outside. Seasoned wood has little to no bark and may be cracked. Inexpensive moisture meters are available which you can use to verify whether or not your firewood is well seasoned. Burn wood with a moisture content of less than 12%.

Don’t Neglect Chimney Maintenance

When creosote clogs your chimney, fires cannot burn efficiently because the draft is hindered. In addition, if a chimney is damaged, causing moisture to get in, different types of damage can occur that results in poor operation of the chimney. Poor chimney operation results in inefficient fires and more particle emissions. Proper chimney maintenance for your wood burning fireplace can keep your fireplace efficient & eco-friendly.

Don’t Burn Inefficient Fires

Fires that burn hotter and longer do a better job of burning up particulate matter and toxic combustion gases. If you have long-smoldering fires, a lot more smoke and particulate matter is produced; but very little heat is produced. One way to avoid inefficient fires is to have a fireplace insert installed in your masonry fireplace. Inserts are well-designed and not only meet but exceed clean air standards set out by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). With a fireplace insert, the efficiency of your fireplace and chimney system is greatly improved, since the dynamics of the appliance naturally results in more complete combustion.