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Burn Properly Seasoned Wood This Holiday Season

Enjoying time together in front of a roaring fire is a part of the holiday traditions for many families. This year, ensure you are getting the most out of your fireplace by burning only seasoned firewood. Enjoying time together in front of a roaring fire is a part of the holiday traditions for many families. This year, ensure you are getting the most out of your fireplace by burning only seasoned firewood.

What is seasoned wood?

Seasoned firewood is wood that has been cut into logs, stacked, and left exposed to the elements to dry. The seasoning process typically takes a minimum of six months. Seasoning wood can last for up to a year or longer. Importantly, the seasoning process removes moisture from the wood. Fresh cut firewood, also known as green wood, has a moisture content of as high as 50%. This much water in the wood makes it difficult to burn; green wood is hard to ignite, burns at a low temperature, produces more smoke, and can create more creosote in the flue.
Seasoning the wood can reduce the moisture content to between 10 and 20 percent. Seasoned wood is the best choice for use in indoor residential fireplaces; the low moisture content allows the wood to ignite faster, burn hotter, and create less creosote.

What wood is best for my fireplace?

Although seasoned wood is always the best choice for indoor fireplaces, there are a number of different types of firewood. While the kind of firewood you choose to use often comes down to personal preference. Trial and error can help you find the perfect wood for your home.

– Hardwoods. Hardwoods are dense, heavy woods with leaves that change colors with the seasons. Maple, oak, ash, and birch are all popular varieties of hardwoods. Hardwoods are often the most popular for use in indoor fireplaces; in addition to being inexpensive and readily available in most areas, hardwoods create fires that burn at high temperatures and produce little smoke. – Softwoods. Softwoods are made from trees with needle leaves that stay on year round, such as firs, evergreens, and pines. Softwoods are known for their fragrant smoke and their ability to ignite quickly; because of this, softwoods are often used as kindling or aromatics in larger fires. However, because they produce larger amounts of smoke and burn at lower temperatures, they may not be ideal as a primary wood source.

What not to burn

During the holidays, it can be tempting to use the fireplace as a way to dispose of wrapping paper, boxes, and other packing materials. However, burning these things in an indoor fire can quickly lead to disaster. Paper products can ignite quickly to create a burst of flame; while this can be useful when lighting a fire, adding large amounts of paper to a burn can quickly cause it to get out of control. Likewise, burning printed wrapping paper can release toxic chemicals from dyes and inks into the air.

This year, get the most out of your fireplace by choosing seasoned firewood. For more information on how firewood choice can affect your fireplace, contact Clean Sweeps of Michigan today.

Keep Your Fireplace Well Maintained

Keep Your Fireplace Well Maintained - Ann Arbor MI - Clean Sweeps of MichiganThe hearth and fireplace are often the focal points of our homes. Throughout the year, family and friends gather together around a roaring fire in order to spend time together and create memories that will last a lifetime. However, these special times can be cut short if your fireplace is not well maintained.

Proactive fireplace maintenance is the best way to ensure that your fireplace system remains safe to use for years to come. The following maintenance tips can help you keep your fireplace in the best condition possible – as well as help you determine when you need professional services.

Tips for fireplace maintenance

Just like brushing and flossing can help prevent cavities, conducting regular maintenance and upkeep at home can help keep your chimney and fireplace system in better condition. These three fireplace maintenance tips are great ways to help keep your fireplace burning safely and efficiently in between professional chimney sweepings.

1. Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

Installing working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors make operating any fuel-burning appliance safer. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should be placed on each level of the home, as well as outside of sleeping areas. Test batteries every six months to ensure that alarms are still working; smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should be replaced as needed or at least every 10 years in order to comply with modern safety standards.

2. Start a test fire

Before jumping in with your first fire of the season, burn a few pieces of test wood. Doing this can expose any drafting problems before you have a hearth full of wood – and a room covered in soot. Light several small pieces of seasoned firewood from the top down; smoke should draft vertically up the chimney. If soot or smoke blow back into your home, immediately begin troubleshooting; creosote buildup, debris in the chimney, or a partially closed damper can all lead to drafting problems.

3. Burn seasoned firewood

All wood is not created equal; burning the wrong kind of firewood can negatively impact fireplace efficiency and performance. Most fireplace professionals recommend burning seasoned hardwoods such as maple and oak. Seasoned firewood has been allowed to dry to remove excess moisture. This allows the wood to burn more efficiently, at a higher temperature, and create less creosote.

When to call a professional

While there are a number of ways homeowners can take care of their fireplace and chimney systems on their own, professional services are often needed in order to ensure your hearth is receiving the best quality care.

“Safety is the best reason to have a professional chimney sweep inspect, clean, and test any fireplace when you move into a home,” said Ashley Eldridge, Director of Education for the Chimney Safety Institute of America. “While it is possible for homeowners to clean and maintain their own fireplaces and chimneys, it’s unlikely that they possess the requisite knowledge or experience to spot all potential problems during an inspection.”

Whether its regular preventative maintenance such as a chimney sweeping and inspection or more specialized services such as masonry repairs or new fireplace installation, a certified chimney sweep can safely and correctly get the job done right – the first time.

No matter what condition your chimney is in, maintenance is an important part of helping it last for years to come. Contact Clean Sweeps of Michigan today to schedule your fireplace maintenance services!

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