Almost Anything Will Burn, But Not Everything Belongs in a Fireplace
The days are getting shorter, nights are getting longer and temperatures are getting cooler. It’s about time those fireplaces start coming in handy to keep our homes warm. While it’s obvious to burn wood in the fireplace, we are often tempted to burn things other than seasoned wood.
**Before we get into what you should not burn in your fireplace or wood stove, make sure to schedule a chimney inspection and cleaning if you have not done so already.
Here are 8 things Not To Burn in your fireplace:
1. Unseasoned or Green Wood
There are a couple reasons not to burn green or unseasoned wood in your fireplace:
1. Moisture: Wood that has not completely dried out is inefficient and does not produce a high heat.
2. More Smoke: Unseasoned or green wood will create more smoke, which creates more creosote build up.
2. Manufactured Wood
Treated lumber, plywood, pressboard, and other manufactured woods are infused with dangerous chemicals like chromium and arsenic. When you burn manufactured wood, these chemicals which are toxic to people and animals are released into the air of your home.
3. Christmas Trees
Many may think it’s okay that once Christmas is over, it’s okay to chop up and burn your old Christmas tree in the fireplace. This is not a good idea. The tree sap from pine can cause dangerous resins to build up in your chimney flue. These resins are flammable and can easily trigger a chimney fire.
Similar to manufactured wood, cardboard is made with chemicals, glues and inks. When burned, cardboard will release dangerous chemicals into the air that can cause brain and respiratory damage. So, after Christmas is over and everyone has opened their gift, it is not a good idea to burn not just the tree but also the cardboard packaging from all those gifts.
5. Dryer Lint
It is a good idea to keep the lint trap in your dryer clean, but it is not a good idea to repurpose that link to start your fire. Just as chemicals are used to create cardboard and other manufactured wood, chemicals are also used in the manufacturing of our clothing, sheets and towels. It is not wise to burn lint in your fireplace and release those chemicals into the air of your home.
6. Wax Paper
Hopefully, you can see a pattern: anything other than seasoned wood that can be burned, doesn’t mean that it should be used in the fireplace because of dangerous chemicals. Wax paper is no exception. Advertising materials, magazines, etc. that have that waxy type of feel has their own type of dangerous chemicals. We do not recommend using your old magazines as kindling.
Plastic is a synthetic materials and is highly toxic when burned. One of the last things any homeowner should do is to ever burn plastic in their fireplace. Burning plastic will release very toxic gases into the air of your home.
8. Lighter Fluid
It is one thing to use lighter fluid outside for a bonfire or grill, but it’s a whole other issue when using lighter fluid in the fireplace of your home. Burning lighter fluid, gasoline kerosene or any other liquid fire accelerant can cause a fire to get out of control very quickly. Furthermore, using these types of liquids can allow your fire to burn at a temperature that is not safe for a fireplace or wood stove.
Ask a Chimney Professional
At Baun’s Chimney Sweeping, we’re not here for just chimney inspections or chimney sweeping, we’re here to make sure you stay safe when using your fireplace or wood-stove. If you have questions about fire safety and what you should and should not burn in your fireplace, we would rather have you contact us or any chimney professional with your questions than to take unnecessary risks.