Check your wood burning appliance – the cleanest burning and most efficient wood burning appliances are newer technology appliances certified to the CSA B-415 or EPA New Source Performance Standard for Residential Wood Heaters.
Good firewood is a must.
- Buy locally sourced firewood.
- Season your firewood for at least 6 months – moisture content should be less than 20%.
- Store your firewood properly – outdoors and off the ground with the top covered.
- Never burn anything in your appliance other than good firewood and dry kindling, newspaper or all-natural firestarters.
Do not burn:
- Household trash, including cardboard, plastics, foam and the colored ink on magazines, boxes, and wrappers
- Coated, painted, and pressure-treated wood
- Ocean driftwood, plywood, particle board, or any wood with glue on or in it
- Wet, rotted, diseased, or moldy wood
- Plastic, asbestos, rubber, manure and animal remains
When using your wood burning appliance, follow these guidelines for safe operation:
- Keep flammable items away from your appliance such as curtains, furniture, newspapers and books.
- Only use newspaper, dry kindling and all-natural or organic fire starters. Never start a fire with gasoline, kerosene, or charcoal starter.
- Do not burn wet or green (unseasoned) wood.
- Many wax and sawdust logs are made for open hearth fireplaces only. Consult your appliance’s operating instructions before using artificial logs.
- If you can use them in your appliance or you have an open hearth fireplace, only burn manufactured logs made from 100% compressed sawdust.
- Build hot fires. For most appliances, a smouldering fire is not safe or efficient.
- Keep the doors of your wood-burning appliance closed unless loading or stoking the live fire. Harmful chemicals, like carbon monoxide, can be released into your home.
- Regularly remove ashes into a covered, metal container. Store the container outdoors on a non-flammable surface.
- Keep a fire extinguisher handy.
- Check your local air quality forecast before you burn.
Look for these signs of good combustion:
- When wood burns it should be flaming until only charcoal remains. If there are no flames, something is wrong.
- If there are firebricks in the firebox, they should be tan in color, never black.
- Steel or cast iron parts in the firebox should be light to dark brown, never black and shiny.
- With seasoned wood, correct air settings and proper loading arrangement you should expect almost instant ignition of a new load of wood – a long delay before ignitions indicates that something is wrong.
- If the appliance has a glass door with air wash, it should be clear.
- If the appliance has a glass door without air wash, it will be hazy, but should never be totally black.
- The exhaust coming from the top of the chimney should be clear or white. A plume of blue or gray smoke indicates smouldering, poor combustion, air pollution and probably low system operating temperatures.
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