Wood burning information 



Stage 1 – Water Boils Off

As the log heats, moisture contained in the log

vaporizes, and escapes through the log's surface as

water vapor. More energy is used up vaporizing the

moisture than is used to burn the log. That heat energy

could be warming your house instead of drying your

wood before it burns. 

Stage 2 - Vaporizes Wood Gases

Before burning, firewood "cooking" creates

and releases hundreds of new volatile

organic gases, which contain VOCs, tars

and charcoal or carbon. Because the log

temperature at this stage is too low to burn

gases and tars, they escape up the flue.

As they cool, some of the gases will combine

with water vapor to form highly flammable

creosote that sticks to the flue walls; other

gases condense into smoke particles. 

Stage 3 - Log Charcoal Burns

At temperatures above 600 degrees Fahrenheit

the escaping gases start burning, ignited by

flames. As the temperature reaches 1000

degrees, the charcoal log burns and emits heat.

Burning the charcoal produces most of the fire's

usable heat. 

Follow These Tips on

Clean Burning – To Heat More Efficiently and Reduce

Air Pollution!

 Start Your Fire with Softwood Kindling

Softwoods (pine, fir) are generally low in density, ignite easily, burn fast and hot and will heat the firebox and flue quickly. They are ideal for kindling and starting your fires, but form creosote easily due to the high resin (sap) content.


 Burn Longer and Cleaner With Hardwood

Hardwoods (oak, cherry) are denser and take

longer to ignite, but burn slower and more evenly,

producing less smoke. They also provide more

heat energy than softwood logs of the same size.


 Burn Only "Seasoned" Firewood

Firewood should dry, or "season" a minimum of 6 to 12

Months after splitting. Hardwoods dry more slowly than

Softwoods and may take over a year to dry. Seasoned

firewood by definition contains 20 percent moisture or

less by weight. Wood dries faster in a warmer storage

area with more air circulation. 

Be Careful when Buying Wood Advertised as "Seasoned". Look for:

Dark colored, cracked ends, with cracks radiating

from the center like bicycle spokes.

Light in weight, meaning there is little moisture left;

hardwood logs will weigh more than softwood.

Sound - Hit two pieces together. Wet wood makes

a dull "thud" sound. Dry wood rings with a resonant

"crack," like a bat hitting a baseball.

Easily peeled or broken bark. No green should

show under the bark. 

Build a Small, HOT Fire First…

Open Damper Wide - allow in maximum air to fuel

the fire. And leave it and other air inlets open for 30


Start Small and Hot - leave a thin layer of ash for

insulation. Crumple a few sheets of newspaper

and add some small pieces of kindling, then light.

Add bigger kindling a few at a time as the fire

grows. Get it burning briskly to form a bed of hot

coals. Now add 2 or 3 logs.

Position the next logs carefully - place logs

close enough together to keep each other hot, but

far apart enough to let sufficient air (oxygen) move

between them. 

Refuel While the Coals Are Still Hot!

If a fireplace insert or glass door is present, open it

slightly for a minute to prevent back puffing of smoke

into the room. When smoke subsides, then open the

door fully.

Preheat again by placing a few pieces of kindling

onto the red-hot coals. Add more as they catch fire,

then add a few larger pieces. Small, frequent

loading causes less smoke than a big load in

most older stoves.

After refueling, leave the dampers and inlets open

for about 30 minutes. The fire will get plenty of air

and burn hot, retarding creosote formation (which

forms early in a burn).


 Don’t Burn Anything but Clean, Seasoned

Wood, Fireplace Logs, and Non-glossy White Paper

- No Rubbish - No Plastics

- No Rubber - No Waste

- No Chipboard - No Plywood

- No Glossy Paper - No Colored Paper

- No Solvent or Paint - No Oil

- No Coal or Charcoal - No Painted / Treated Wood

Burning these materials can produce noxious, corrosive smoke and

fumes that may be toxic. They can foul you’re your  flue. 

Warning: Kiln-Dried Wood vaporizes too

rapidly, causing creosote buildup. 

Overnight Heating

When using an open fireplace, DO NOT

burn overnight unattended - it's a major

fire hazard. This can also lead to a

back draft of the smoke into your own

home, causing very hazardous indoor

air pollution.

Build a small, hot fire and let it burn out

completely. Rely on your home's

insulation to hold in enough heat for the

night. When the fire is out, close the

damper tightly. 

 Heating in Warmer Weather

If you do need extra heat in warmer weather, and a small space heater will not suffice, open the air controls wide, build a small, hot fire, using more finely split wood, and let it burn out. 

DO NOT try to reduce the heat from a big fire by reducing its air supply because this leads to smoldering, creosote buildup and air pollution.

·        Do Not Close the Damper or Air Inlets Too Tightly -

The fire will smoke from lack of air. 

·        Follow the Wood Stove or Fireplace Manufacturer's

Instructions Carefully - Be sure that anyone who

operates it is also familiar with these instructions. 

·        Your Actions Determine How Efficiently Your

Fireplace or Wood Stove Will Operate - A good wood

stove/fireplace is designed to burn cleanly and efficiently,

but it can not do its job right if you do not cooperate 

 Maintain Your Fire Properly –

Watch the Temperature

 Watch for Smoke Signals!

Get into the habit of glancing out at your chimney top every

so often. Apart from the half hour after lighting and refueling,

a properly burning fire should give off only a thin wisp of

white steam. If you see smoke, adjust your dampers or air

inlets to let in more air. The darker the smoke, the more

pollutants it contains and the more fuel is being wasted. 

Inspection and Upkeep - For Safety’s Sake

Periodic inspection of your wood stove or fireplace is essential to ensuring its continued safe and clean-burning operation. Keep in mind the following points when performing your fireplacespection:

·        Chimney Caps can be plugged by debris, which will reduce draft. 

·        Chimneys should be cleaned professionally at least once a year to remove creosote buildup. Remember - Creosote can fuel a chimney fire that can burn down your house!  

·        Stovepipe angles and bolts are particularly subject to corrosion. 

·        Gaskets on airtight stove doors need replacement every few years. 

·        Seams on stoves sealed with furnace cement may leak.

Eventually the cement dries out, becomes brittle, and may fall out.

·        Firebricks may be broken or missing.

·        Grates or stove bottoms can crack or break




                                             GET SAFE!  GET SWEPT!


                                          CLEAR SOOT CHIMNEY SWEEPING SERVICES



                                                01656 739033 



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