The installation and design stage is vital to success as most common fireplace problems are expensive and hard to correct after the fireplace is built. When correctly built and properly used, a fireplace ought to be smoke free. You probably have a problem if you smell or spot smoke. To reduce smoke inside and outside your home, apply these guidelines to burn wisely in your fireplace.
- Use only dry, well-seasoned (aged at least 6 months) wood that has been split correctly.
- By burning locally cut firewood you decrease the risk of moving invasive forest pests to your property.
- Start the fire correctly by using only clean newspaper or dry kindling. Don't ever use gasoline, a propane torch, kerosene, or charcoal starter.
- Never let the fire smolder. Many people believe they should let a fire smolder overnight. But this does very little for heating and increases air pollution.
- Always clean the ashes from your fireplace. Left-over ashes clog the air intake vents which reduces efficiency. To reduce the risk of fire, make sure you dispose of ashes in a metal container away from the house or any flammable materials.
- Keeping your chimney clean provides a good draft for your fireplace and decreases the risk of a chimney fire. Have a certified professional inspect your chimney at least once a year.
- By following best practices for burning wood you're being a good neighbor. Check your local air quality forecast and always remember to comply with state and local codes.
- Choose the proper-sized fireplace for your needs. If your fireplace is too large for your house or room, the fuel will smolder and pollute the air.
- And don't forget to properly install and maintain a smoke alarm which is one of the best and least expensive methods of providing an early warning of a potentially deadly fire.