Tips for Achieving Responsible Wood-Burning
Responsible wood-burning means that while you are enjoying the heat from a fire in your home, you are contributing a very small amount of emissions to the atmosphere.
As recently as the 1980s, it was common for a wood-burning appliance to emit 42 grams of particulate matter per hour. Today’s approved wood burning stoves and fireplaces, on the other hand, emit a maximum of 7.5 grams per hour. Burning wood responsibly involves a bit more than buying the right kind of appliance, but it is an easy goal to reach.
Burn the Right Fuel
The type of firewood you burn has a lot to do with how efficient your fires are. There are many different types of trees that can be burned, each with their own unique attributes. When it comes to efficiency, the important thing to remember is the difference between seasoned wood and unseasoned wood.
No matter what type of wood you burn, it needs to be seasoned or properly dried. It typically takes about six to nine months for firewood to dry out when stacked properly. The wood should be off the ground, stacked neatly, and covered at the top, to keep the rain off. Wood that is properly seasoned is darker in color than green logs, has cracks in the end grain, and has a hollow sound when tossed against another log.
The goal in drying out wood is to achieve a moisture content of less than 20%. Wood moisture meters are available that you can use to test your wood’s moisture content before you burn it. The moisture content in our firewood is between 17 and 22 %.
Burn Efficient Fires
Another way to be responsible in your wood-burning practices is to burn efficient fires. Start fires with dry kindling and newspaper; never use a combustible liquid in your wood-burning appliance. An efficient fire is never slow and smouldering; instead it is hot and achieves complete combustion. Do not burn a fire that is larger than what is needed for the space ou intend to warm up. Routinely remove ashes from the appliance, to maintain proper airflow that gives fires the oxygen essential for efficient combustion. (Be sure to use safe practices for ash removal, storage, and disposal, to prevent hazardous fires.)
Practice Proper Chimney Maintenance
A well-maintained chimney is another component necessary to achieve efficient wood-burning. If the chimney is obstructed by an excess buildup of creosote or by debris caused by lack of maintenance, fires will not have an adequate draft to burn efficiently. If you schedule an annual chimney cleaning and inspection and address needed repairs, the chimney will help to achieve responsible wood-burning.