from an EPA BurnWise tipsheet

Burn the right wood, the right way, in the right appliance

By changing the way you burn wood, you can save money, reduce air pollution and protect your (and your neighbours') health.

Here are a few simple tips to make your fire burn hotter, keep your wallet fatter and keep your local air cleaner and healthier.

Season all firewood. All firewood should be split, securely covered or stored, and aged for at least six months. Seasoned wood burns hotter, cuts fuel consumption and reduces the amount of smoke your appliance produces.

Choose the right firewood. Hardwoods are the best. Never burn trash or treated wood which can emit toxic air pollutants.

Start it right. Use only clean newspaper or dry kindling to start a fire. Never use gasoline, kerosene, charcoal starter, or a propane torch.

Don’t let the fire smolder. Many people think they should let a fire smolder overnight. But reducing the air supply does little for heating and increases air pollution.

Clean ashes from your wood-burning appliance. Excess ashes can clog the air intake vents reducing efficiency. Be sure to dispose of ashes in a metal container away from the house or any flammable material to reduce the risk of fire.

Keep your chimney clean. A clean chimney provides good draft for your wood-burning appliance and reduces the risk of a chimney fire. Have a certified professional inspect your chimney once a year.

Be a good neighbor. Follow best practices for burning wood. Always remember to comply with state and local codes and check your local air quality forecast.

Follow instructions. Operate your woodburning appliance according to the manufacturer’s instructions and follow all maintenance procedures.

Upgrade to cleaner equipment. EPA certified wood stoves and fireplace inserts burn cleaner and burn wood more efficiently emitting less particle pollution than older models.

Size matters. Choose the right-sized appliance for your needs. If your woodburning appliance is too big for your room or house, the fuel will smolder and create more air pollution.

For more information on how to burn wise, go to




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