Maintain Your Fireplace or Stove
Clean the interior by vacuuming up ashes leftover from last year. Protect your lungs and hands by wearing a dust mask and gloves. While you’re in there, remove any creosote or soot buildup that you can see on the walls and lower parts of the chimney. Wear safety glasses and use a flashlight and mirror to look up the flue. We’d recommend doing this periodically during the heating season too.
Read more about wood stove maintenance here.
Hire a Chimney Sweep
Chimneys for wood-burning hearth products should be inspected and “swept” at least once a year. Now is the time! Creosote, a flammable tarlike substance that’s a byproduct of burning wood coats the walls of the chimney, can cause safety concerns if not removed annually. You can find a chimney sweep that’s certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America here.
Use Quality Wood
Good quality wood that’s been properly split and cured burns the best. If possible, use hardwoods like oak, birch, ash and maple. You can certainly burn soft woods like pine and cedar, but they burn faster and have higher concentrations of sap, which can cause smoke and sparks.
Learn more about wood fuel here.
Be Aware of the Warning Signs
While having fires, watch for signs that could indicate a problem with your fireplace, stove or chimney. Excessive smoke can be a sign of a faulty damper (or one that it isn’t fully open), creosote or soot issues or debris in the chimney. For maintenance, please contact your local Forge & Flame dealer.
Consider a Fireplace Insert
If you have an open, masonry-built wood-burning fireplace, we’d recommend having a fireplace insert installed. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, these fireplaces can exhaust up to 300 cubic feet of heated room air outside the home every minute they burn! They also draw cold air into the home through the windows and doors while burning. EPA certified wood-burning fireplace inserts like Forge & Flame's collection of Quadra-Fire and Vermont Castings inserts transform these fireplaces into powerful heat sources. They’re outfitted with technologies that effectively burn and re-burn the wood, smoke and gases, producing warm and long-lasting fires. And because they’re so efficient, creosote buildup is significantly reduced.
Please take these tips to heart before stoking your fireplace or stove in the coming weeks and months, and you will stay safe and warm!