In autumn-winter, nothing delights us more than the prospect of a good crackling fire in the hearth of the fireplace. Failing to heat the house very efficiently, it warms our hearts and puts a little balm in it to spend the cold seasons with more joy. However, not all pieces of wood can be used as fuel. Indeed, some wood logs release toxic fumes and fine particles in the smoke pollute the planet as well as our interior. Some species also do not offer the same heating performance or can cause an instant fire. For a long-lasting, healthy-burning fire, learn about the types of wood you should never burn in your fireplace or woodstove.
By choosing your wood species well, you can warm up and roast marshmallows without worrying about your health and safety!
1) Make sure you always burn dry wood
Whatever your installation or the species of wood used, there is an essential rule to never forget: use dry wood only. At the time of its felling, each wood, whatever it is, contains more than 50% humidity. However, the use of too humid wood in combustion is a very bad idea, because the fire will first have to eliminate the humidity of the wood before being able to produce heat at its best efficiency to heat your rooms. In addition, damp wood promotes clogging of the flues of the fireplace or stove. To not have a low calorific valueburning dry wood is therefore essential.
Count about two years to dry in good conditions so that your wet wood falls to 20% humidity level, the threshold to reach for it to deliver all its qualities. Remember to find out about the date of the cut at the time of purchase.
2) Ban the use of green wood
The green wood produced can cause poisoning. There is indeed a high concentration of sap (mainly water). On combustion, it will therefore burn very quickly and smoke extremely strong. This is the reason why the wood is generally aged between six to nine months at least after its felling before putting it to burn. Again, you will have to ask the seller when it was cut. You can also check the bark. If it is firmly attached and dripping with sap, the wood is green. Mistrust !
3) G1, G2 and G3? Don’t make the mistake again!
Wood species are classified into three main categories: G1, G2 and G3. However, not all are equal!
-There category G1 includes hardwoods (oak, hornbeam, maple, beech ash, elm, etc.) which are considered the best firewoods. Logs last longer without having to put them back in the fireplace too often.
-Then we find the category G2 with soft hardwoods (acacia, birch, chestnut, hazel, poplar, plane, willow, elder, lime, etc.). Intermediate in terms of quality, it includes woods that have a lower yield than hardwoods, but whose faster combustion is appreciable for easily and quickly starting a fire.
-Finally, the category G3 intended for softwoods (spruce, larch, pine or even fir) is the one that is not recommended. Indeed, softwoods burn too quickly and produce a lot of residue and tarring. That’s why you shouldn’t burn your Christmas tree in your stove! The only exception is the Australian fir which contains much less resin and is one of the best firewood in the world.
4) In an open hearth, you should never burn certain woods
If your fireplace has an open hearth, avoid using gasolines that burst and produce sparks. This can indeed increase the risk of fire starting in the House. Here, we will keep in particular at a distance from the chestnut tree, the plane tree or the poplar.
5) Burn the treated wood: we forget!
Not intended for heating, some woods undergo chemical treatments which aim to improve their durability and protect them against rot, particularly with regard to construction wood (plywood or particle board). Some are also painted, plywood and reconstituted. In general, all wood treated or manufactured with strong glues and chemical products should be avoided, as they release toxic and carcinogenic fumes when burned. These species also run the risk of quickly clogging the flues of the stove or chimney. As for furniture wood, it is also chemically treated, especially under pressure, and pieces produced before 2000 contain arsenic. So avoid…
6) Other unsuitable woods in the fireplace or stove
In addition to clogging the chimney, the driftwood is very toxic, even when very dry. This is explained by the fact that it contains salt and chlorine which make the wood toxic when burned. Also avoid putting parts of oleander, poison ivy, poison oak, and any other woods with such suggestive names in the stove or fireplace.
Other things never to burn…
In addition to the wood species mentioned earlier, it is also necessary be careful not to burn colored paper in his fireplace or wood-burning stove. Indeed, the pigments in the colored ink used in magazines, wrapping paper, catalogs or even newspaper inserts give off toxic fumes when burned. However, you can use white and black newspaper to start the fire.
Also avoid burning clothes or fabrics, as this will give off bad odors and produce lots of smoke and soot which will add to the creosote in the chimney lining. Good luck cleaning up the mess after that! Also, be careful with plastic, firelighters not dedicated to wood stoves and chemical accelerants. This is because lighter fluid, kerosene and gasoline produce toxic fumes and are highly flammable. You therefore expose yourself to the risk of unexpected outbreaks that can set your house on fire. Their use indoors is to be banned.