In addition to adding a unique ambiance to your home, your wood-burning fireplace can save you hundreds on your yearly heating bills. Caring properly for your wood-burning fireplace is critical to not only improve the fireplace's efficiency but also protect your family from the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning. When it comes to caring for your wood-burning fireplace, here are a few common mistakes to avoid.
Using Unseasoned Firewood
One of the most important steps in creating a successful fire is using seasoned wood. Fresh cut wood is filled with moisture and will not burn efficiently. When your firewood is brought to your home it must be stacked off the ground to prevent further moisture from the ground from seeping into the wood. Depending upon where you live, the wood is left stacked outdoors for several weeks or months.
The easiest way to determine if the wood is properly seasoned is to hit two pieces of wood against each other. The wood should make a loud sound when it is slapped against another piece. If the wood feels damp and makes a softer noise, it is not ready for your fireplace.
Not Having Your Chimney Cleaned and Your Fireplace Inspected
When you burn wood in your fireplace, a substance called creosote is naturally released. The creosote collects on the inside of your fireplace and chimney. When creosote is not removed from your fireplace or chimney on a regular basis, the creosote can ignite and cause a potentially dangerous fire. Having your chimney cleaned at least once a year is the best way to eliminate this dangerous creosote.
When you schedule a chimney cleaning, also schedule a yearly inspection of your wood-burning fireplace. The inspector will thoroughly examine your fireplace and make any necessary repairs and completely clean out the fireplace and any remaining creosote.
Improperly Cleaning and Disposing of Ashes
Finally, cleaning your ashes at least once a week will help prevent the ash from making a huge mess in your living room. If you burn your fireplace daily, you might need to clean the ash out more often. Wait at least 12 hours after the fire is completely extinguished before scooping the ash into a dedicated metal ash receptacle. Never clean the ash while it is still hot or smoldering, as this can lead to an accidental fire.
From improperly eliminating ash to using unseasoned firewood, there are several common wood fireplace mistakes you should avoid.
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