How to Burn Firewood More Efficiently in a Wood Stove or Fireplace
Learning to burn firewood more efficiently can help you get more heat and save money by burning less wood. This also gives the benefit of cleaner air for you and your neighbors to breath, both inside and outside your home. A cleaner burning fire will produce less creosote buildup in your chimney and on the glass on your wood stove. Smoke not only causes pollution, it is a wasted energy since smoke is unburned fuel that wasn’t converted to heat.
If you don’t have a modern certified wood stove, you might want to look into one since they are usually cleaner burning and produce more heat from less wood. But with some practice and the right knowledge you can make a clean burning and more efficient fire with both older non certified and certified stoves that will produce little or no visible smoke.
Here are Six Steps to A Cleaner Burning More Efficient Fire
Burn Seasoned Dry Firewood
It is very important to burn firewood that is seasoned and dry. Burning green or wet firewood will significantly reduce the heat output of your wood stove and increase smoke an creosote buildup in your chimney. Firewood should be seasoned for at least 6 months or up to a full year in some conditions. Learn how to season firewood.
Start Your Fire Right
Start a small hot fire using small pieces of firewood and kindling. Starting a fire with small dry pieces will give you a hot cleaner burning fire more quickly. It is good to keep your wood stove door slightly open for about a minute to allow extra air flow to get the fire going quickly before latching the door. Just make sure you latch it after the fire gets going. You don’t want an unattended fire to escape and burn your house down.
Get Your Stove Hot
Get your stove hot enough that it will re-burn the smoke the way it was designed. Start with a small hot fire and load more in one at a time as they are needed. Loading up your stove with several large pieces at once can cool the fire and create an inefficient burn and even a smoldering situation.
Maintain Your Fire
In older stoves especially, don’t close off the air flow too much since this makes the fire smolder and smoke. Don’t overload any stove since this also causes it to smolder and smoke. This wastes your fuel and money, causes creosote to build up and pollutes the air.
Keep the Wood Stove Doors Closed
Once the fire is going you shouldn’t open the doors unless you are putting in more wood. Wood stoves are designed to operate with the doors closed. When the door is opened, much of the heat will go out the chimney.
Never Burn Garbage
Garbage, newspaper or junk mail should never be burned in a wood stove. In some areas it is illegal. Paper can be used for starting fires but other than that the only things that should be burned in a wood stove are firewood, fire starter and manufactured fire logs approved for burning in a wood stove.
If all these steps are working properly you should be able to go outside and see no visible smoke coming from your chimney. There should be only hot air and water vapor.