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Burning Green Wood

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Green wood has more moisture in it when it burns and that can cause an excess of the much dreaded creosote that you want to keep out of your chimney system, if at all possible.

Green wood also has a tendency to smolder and put smoke into the air. Because the heat helps the smoke rise up through the flue, this smoke, if not hot enough, can “hang out” a little bit longer in the chimney system. If too much smoke is produced and it’s not going up the chimney as it should, it can back fill into your home. While that is a bit extreme, it can happen if all you are doing is burning green or unseasoned wood.

If you have to burn unseasoned wood, try to at least mix it with seasoned wood so the heat from the fire will help push all the smoke up through the flue. While the best wood to burn is seasoned, that is not always possible.

If you have suitable storage space and the time, store green wood until it has a chance to dry. This is the seasoning process. The amount of time needed will vary with weather conditions and protection from the elements. If the wood can be left to season for a year, this year’s green wood will make good seasoned firewood next year.

The best way to store wood is off the ground and in an area that is covered like a garage or shed. Unfortunately, many people just are not able to do what is optimum with the wood they buy and have to make due. If that’s all you can do and you know creosote is the main culprit, then it’s a great idea to contract with a chimney professional to come out and check out the fireplace and chimney system. They can tell you the shape it’s in as well as if it needs sweeping on any repairs made before the next use.

Creosote is a soot and tarry substance that collects on the chimney walls and is highly flammable. It is present in all chimneys in one of three stages and the chimney sweep can identify what stage it is in your chimney.

Is burning green wood the best choice? No, it’s not. But given the reality of what is sold to a lot of customers, you’re probably burning green wood to some degree unless you are drying it yourself. That’s one of the main reasons the National Fire Prevention Association recommends you get your system inspected every year.