Smoky Fires Don’t Make Good Neighbors
By Claire West
There’s a house down the street that has billowing smoke coming from its chimney on cold mornings. It’s a small house nestled low in a cove, so the smoke hovers at the street. I hate walking my dog past the house and usually stop short to turn around. I’m a little annoyed to cut my walk short, but more worried for the people who live there —inhaling smoke is bad for your health, and burning a cold, smoky fires is a waste of money, as well as a fire hazard.
Smoke happens when wood is not completely burned. It contains free radicals and carbon dioxide that can irritate your eyes and respiratory system, and inhibit oxygen absorption. Burning a clean fire is important to your health (and the health of your neighbors).
Burning a smoke-free fire will also better heat your home. A hot fire will burn the wood completely and produce more heat than a cool, smoky fire will. Getting more heat with less wood will save you money on wood.
In addition, a cool, smoky fire is more likely to cause creosote to deposit on your chimney flue, putting you at an increased risk for a chimney fire. A professional chimney sweep, like Chimcare, LLC can remove this residue and should be called upon more frequently if you burn a smoky fire.
So Neighbor, please start burning smarter. We’ll both be healthier for it, and you might even save your house or a little extra money on firewood.
5 Tips to a Hotter, Cleaner Fire!
- Only use wood that has been dried for at least six months under a shelter. If you knock on the wood, it should sound hollow.
- Burn a HOT fire and keep it hot by adding wood regularly.
- Do not overload the fire with wood. It can create pockets of cool air and reduce the available oxygen needed to burn well.
- Keep the doors closed to a wood stove while in use.
- Never burn garbage, even newspaper.
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