We’re all spending a little more time at home than normal during this time of year, and it HAS been a bit chilly. We are seeing lots of smoke coming out of our neighbors’ chimneys and just wanted to send you a quick reminder about the things you should NEVER burn in your fireplace. We know you are all cleaning out the garage and your old file boxes, and closets, and sheds, and and and. Just be careful about what you ignite in your firebox as it can be dangerous to you inside the home and/or do serious damage to your chimney, inside AND out.
Fireplaces are meant to burn wood but it unfortunately becomes a trash disposal option for many homeowners. Burning something other than what is actually meant to be burned in the fireplace can be extremely dangerous for more reasons that one. Here is a list of items you should NOT burn in your fireplace this winter.
- Cardboard – this is often treated with or contains man-made chemicals. When these chemicals are burned, it can release hazardous fumes into the air that are harmful to breathe in. It is also possible for the cardboard to actually float into the air as it is burning and leave the fireplace if a screen is not in place. If you do have a screen, it may travel up the flue and out of the chimney, causing an outside fire.
- Pressure Treated Lumber, Plywood, Particle Board, and Press Board- this should not be burned for the same reason as cardboard, as it often contains man-made chemicals that are harmful when burned and the vapors are breathed in.
- Unseasoned Wood – proper firewood is dried out (seasoned) for at least one year. Green wood, or wood that has not been dried out, will not burn properly and will create significant smoke and creosote buildup in the chimney. Properly dried wood is characterized by a graying color, cracking, and bark that easily falls off.
- Trash – can produce emissions that are very dangerous to breathe in.
- Plastics – Any type of household plastic, whether its bubble wrap or a plastic cup, should not be burned in a fireplace. Plastics release toxic chemicals, including hydrochloric acid, sulfur dioxide, dioxins, and heavy metals, that are dangerous for your health and bad for the environment.
- Paper – just as with cardboard, it can easily go airborne once it catches on fire. For outside fires related to chimneys, stray embers are the leading cause.
- Christmas Trees – this happens quite a bit during the holiday season as people put dead branches or the trimmings when they bring home the tree and put it up. This will create significant smoke in the home as the tree is “green.”
- Christmas Decorations and Wrappings – again, the fireplace is not a trash burning facility; it is meant as a secondary heating source. These decorations and wrappings will more than likely have chemicals or coloring that can create hazardous fumes. In addition, like paper and cardboard, they are probably very light and can easily go airborne once they catch on fire.
- Fire accelerants or fire starters – Never use accelerants, such as kerosene, gasoline, or grill starter fluid to help get your fire started. The accelerants or fire starters can cause flare ups or heat your fire to extremely high temperatures that are unsafe for your fireplace and chimney.
- Dryer lint – Dryer lint may be an effective fire starter, but it can release toxic chemicals into your home and up your chimney.
- Driftwood – Even dried out driftwood shouldn’t be burned because when burned, it can possibly release salt that can corrode your fireplace and chimney.Remember that the best fuel for your fireplace is the fuel it was built for. Pellets for pellet stoves and dry, seasoned firewood or manufactured fire logs for a wood-burning fireplace. Any other type of fuel puts your home at risk of toxic fumes or chimney fires.
Portland Chimney Repair – Service Area
Located right here in Oregon, our Portland chimney sweep technicians provide the best in chimney repair, fireplace installation and dryer vent care in the Greater Portland-Metro area. From NE Portland down to SE Portland, Tualatin and Oregon City in the south, from Pleasant Valley in the east to Beaverton and Sherwood in the west – when it comes to your chimney, fireplace and vents, we hope you’ll call American Chimney & Masonry! We are the most trusted Portland Chimney Repair company!
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