Using a Wood-burning fireplace has been a heated debate for a long time in term of its impact on the environment. Some people don’t want to install a wood-burning fireplace in their house. It’s because they worry of harmful chemical and toxins which emit into the air after wood is burnt.
It is true that using a wood-burning fireplace might cause significant damage to the quality of the air around you. However, if you know how to use it properly, you would be able to reduce or even prevent these toxins and harmful by-products.
Do you want to enjoy the warmth and coziness that a fireplace brings to you as well as having an eco-friendly fireplace? Scroll down to read about five things you can do to reduce the negative impact of a fireplace and use it as much eco-friendly as possible.
Here are some most effective ways you can do to make your wood burning fireplace eco-friendly:
Never Burn Toxic Materials
These toxic materials include treated wood, which is wood that has been glued, painted, stained or chemically processed. When you burn these kinds of wood, the chemical and volatile organic compounds inside these pieces of wood would be emitted into the air.
Also, you should not use driftwood for the wood burning fireplace. When this kind of wood is burnt, the sodium chloride is burnt and creates chlorine gas. This gas then emits around the atmosphere, causing a significant health hazard to you and your family members.
Keep in mind that you should only use the fireplace for its intended purposes only- which is to heat your room with wood. Therefore, you should not burn any other type of material such as cardboard paper, glossy paper, particle board or pallets. Just like when you burn treated wood and driftwood, burning these materials will release harmful chemicals and toxins into the room. To be on the safe side, you should never burn any general trash in your fireplace at all.
Only Use Seasoned Wood
In case you burn unseasoned firewood in the fireplace, it would release NO and NO2. These gases are among the destructive gases against ozone. Also, if you inhale a large amount of these gases, it could lead to severe health problems to your lung and respiratory system.
Furthermore, if you use wet wood in the fireplace, it would release much smaller fine particles, causing air pollution to your room.
Make sure that the pieces of wood that you are going to use are seasoned well or have been dried long enough. Well, seasoned wood will create a cleaner and more efficient burning fire. You will know when the wood is thoroughly dried as it tends to have dark or gray color. On the other hand, unseasoned wood will have some greenish shade on the skin. Moreover, well-seasoned pieces of wood have a crack along their body and have just a few or no bark at all.
Another effective method you can use to check if your wood is seasoned well enough is using a moisture meter. When you measure the moisture level of the wood with this device, some less than 12 % means that the wood is dry and you can use it.
Make Sure To Regularly Clean The Fireplace And Chimney
After you have been using the wood burning fireplace for a while, creosote will start to build up in the chimney. Over time, these particles can block the chimney and hinder the draft. This would then lead to inefficient burning. To have an environmental friendly fireplace, you should avoid inefficient burning as much as possible.
Also, if there is any damage or failure in the wood burning fireplace and the heating system in your house, wood could not burn efficiently as well. If the fireplace operates poorly, it will emit harmful and toxic particles.
So make sure you hire a fireplace technician to come to clean and maintain the fireplace. And don’t forget the chimney on a frequent basis, preferably once a year. This would help to make your wood burning fireplace eco-friendly. Also, it saves you a lot of money on fixing serious cost in the future. Not to mention that regular clean and maintenance is the key factor to the safe use of a fireplace.
Have A Fireplace Insert
As I mentioned above, you should avoid inefficient burning to have an eco-friendly fireplace. And having a fireplace insert in your fireplace is another effective way for you to ensure efficient burning.
Without a fireplace insert, you might occasionally have a fire which produces a lot of smoke but would not be able to warm up the room.
A fireplace insert would enable you to have a hotter and longer burning fire. This type of fire would do its job well to keep you warm and cozy. Also, it helps to burn up harmful chemical and combustion gases instead of releasing them into the atmosphere. It ensures that you have efficient burnings all of the time.
Other Tips To Use And Clean Your Wood-burning fireplace
When you start building or decide to make over the mantel of the fireplace, consider using reclaimed wood. This type of wood is much more environmental friendly. Also, you should not replace these old bricks around the fireplace when you make over it. You can easily paint it. Just make sure you choose a type of paint which contains safe and environmentally friendly components.
Also, you can reuse the ashes instead of throwing it away. In the winter, you can use these ashes to de-ice the road. Also, they help to provide better traction for the driveways and pavements.
Another good use of these ashes is that you can use it to block pests in your garden. Just simply sprinkle a lot of ashes in the areas near your plants. Then, they would do a great job for you. You don’t need to throw the ashes away and help the environment by not spraying pest and bug repellents into the air.
Finally, just like when you clean other places in your house, you should use natural and organic cleaners to clean the fireplace glass and bricks. Among these natural ingredients, the most effective ones are baking soda or vinegar. They are cheap to buy and available in most of the marketplaces. They can help to get rid of strange odors in the areas near the fireplace. All you need to do is mix these ingredients with lukewarm water and use the mixture as the cleaning solution.
In a nutshell
In general, it is worth remembering that having an efficient fire would ensure an eco-friendly fireplace. You can do so by using only seasoned wood, prevent burning wet or treated wood along with cardboard and other trash. Installing wood insert in the fireplace and having your fireplace cleaned regularly by a fireplace expert also help to produce efficient burnings.
I hope that you can find these tips above easy to understand and follow. With these tips in mind, I am sure that you can enjoy the fireplace while living in a clean and safe atmosphere.