Environmental Chimney Sweep Inc.

Eco-friendly Habits in Fireplace Use


–Article contributed by High’s Chimney Service, a company which performs chimney maintenance and chimney repair in Maryland and North Virginia.

Generally speaking, using your fireplace is safe.  However, there are ways to make your fireplace use even safer.  Check out the following tips for some green fireplace habits to get into.

Eco-friendly habits for fireplace use

Install the Fireplace Correctly

Having a fireplace installed incorrectly can create a whole host of problems, including increased chimney fire hazards and air pollution.  Chimney airflow problems may arise if improperly sized chimney liners or inadequately sized chimneys are installed as well.

Have the Chimney and Fireplace Inspected

Fireplaces, especially chimneys, accumulate lots of gunk over time if not properly cared for.  Deposits like creosote and soot each call your chimney their home, and too much of either one can restrict airflow (17% restriction in a masonry chimney, 30% in a prefabricate chimney).

Burn the Smoke

Lots of fireplaces can reduce their own pollution these days.  The reason this is possible is because the gas and smoke burns up in addition to the wood inside your unit.  If your fireplace does this, the smoke won’t even escape through the chimney.  Many fireplace units do this automatically, though if yours doesn’t, consider installing what is called a catalyst.

Burn Hardwood or Wood Alternatives

Some woods are better than others.  Birches, cherry, maple and others are more efficient in that they burn hotter and longer, and they also burn cleaner than their pine, spruce and fir counterparts.  Unseasoned wood (wood that is not left out to dry for several months) will also produce more smoke and pollutants.  While units manage smoke well, the less they have to deal with in the first place, the better.

If you’re truly concerned about using wood in your fireplace, consider burning alternative items.  Several stoves are specially designed to burn pellets, which are made of compressed sawdust, and produce less waste.  Also think about using non-wood kindling like Java Logs.  These are all-natural, being made entirely out of coffee grounds, and release 66% less creosote and 78% less carbon monoxide than wood.

Never Burn Contaminated Items

Oftentimes we use various items to help kindle the fire.  A common tactic is to crumple up newspaper.  There are some items you don’t want to burn, though.  Old books, magazines with colored ink and cardboard are at the top of the list.  Anything that is chemically-treated is a no-no as well.  Varnished or painted wood, plastic and materials with glue should never be put into the fireplace.  All of these items contain toxins, which if they escape with the smoke will hurt the environment.

These are all great eco-friendly and safe habits to get into when using your fireplace.  Building a responsible fire requires many considerations, and these should help you get on the right track.  With so many other pollutants in our world, let’s reduce our environmental footprint by building clean fires!

By on November 6th, 2012 | Tagged with: Tags: , | Leave a Comment


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