Pozzi Chimney Sweep Blog

Is Your Wood Stove EPA Certified?

If you have recently made the decision to purchase a wood stove and are looking for insight into which one is best, be sure to make EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) certification one of your requirements. Buying something older and used may seem like a good option, but anything built before 1990 will not be EPA certified and you will quickly discover that a newer model would have been well worth the extra cash spent.

What makes EPA certification so important for wood stoves?Is Your Wood Stove EPA Certified - Aurora, IL - Pozzi Chimney Sweep

  • Efficiency: A newer stove will provide more heat, allowing you to get much more out of what you are paying for. EPA certification allows for stricter requirements as far as how efficient a stove needs to run in order to be sold. This causes you to use less fuel for more heat and will save you a lot of time and money in the long run.

 

  • Less Pollution: If a stove is EPA certified, it will produce less pollutants. They burn cleaner and run better, causing less toxins to escape into the air. This is not only a benefit for you and your family, but for the environment as a whole. Smoke and other toxins can be very harmful to one’s health, making a newer model well worth the investment.

 

  • Advanced Technology: The newer the wood stove is, the more advanced the technology behind it will be. With every passing year, companies are working hard to make certain these stoves are as energy-efficient as possible. With new insights and strategies being implemented on a constant basis, customers can be assured that they are getting the best products possible.

 

Once you have decided on which wood stove is best for your home, call a professional to install it. Improper installation can lead to a lot of headaches and costly repairs later on down the road. The littlest mishap can cause big problems and the complexity often involved with installing wood stoves can make anyone frustrated. An expert will ensure that everything is in the proper place and that your stove will run efficiently.

Once installed and put to use, schedule annual inspections to make certain that your wood stove remains in the best condition possible. A certified professional will be able to remove any type of build-up with the use of proper tools and chemicals and can make certain that all parts of your unit are working as they should be. Also, when using the stove, be sure to purchase properly seasoned wood and consistently study up on fire safety and proper wood-burning techniques. This will make a huge difference in ensuring your stove is properly maintained and will help you keep your home and family safe.

Pozzi Chimney Sweep has certified professionals who can assist you with any of your stove or fireplace needs. Save yourself time and hassle and give us a call today!

Stocking Up on Firewood for Winter

Choose the right firewood for a better burning fire

Choose the right firewood for a better burning fire

Summer has officially ended, and the weather seems to have forgotten about it already. Leaves have already started to turn vibrant yellow, orange and red and many litter the ground already. The wind has a crisp edge to it and the days have shortened significantly. Along with the cold weather, many homeowners are starting to look ahead to the looming winter months by prepping their heating systems. For those who utilize wood-burning stoves, fireplaces and furnaces, this means stocking up on a large supply of good quality wood.

Local Firewood is Better

When you start shopping around for firewood, make sure to stick around your area and ask your suppliers where they receive their wood from. Wood that has travelled long distances may carry nonnative species that could potentially damage or destroy native trees. For example, ash trees all over the country are dying and being cut down because of an ash-boring beetle that was brought over from Asia. It originated in Michigan, but now trees everywhere are dying because people inappropriately moved infested firewood across state borders.

Quality Matters

Now that you know to look around your area only, your next step is to invest your money in the best firewood. First, you need to find out if the wood has been properly dried and seasoned. Wet wood will not burn, and if you choose to keep your wood outside, the moisture will stay in the wood during the winter freezes. You can check for moisture by splitting a piece of wood and feeling for any moisture. Also, wood with cracks in the ends are usually drier than solid pieces without any splits.

Hardwood vs Softwood

Next, consider the species of trees the wood came from. Generally, hardwood trees are best because they are the densest and burn long and hot. They also produce a hot coal bed upon burning, which lengthens the life and heat of the fire. Hardwood tree species include oaks, maples and hickories. Softer woods like birch, pine and spruce burn quickly and do not produce a long lasting coal bed when burned.

Updated stoves and fireplaces now allow for more efficient heating of the less dense woods, so choosing to burn birch or pine wood is now a more viable option. Particularly in the spring and fall, you can opt to burn these softer woods. In addition, burning a wide variety of wood helps save the hardwood species from becoming over-harvested.

Firewood Storage

Once you have decided on the wood you want, store it properly at home to ensure the best burning. Now that it is fall, you should move any firewood to a sheltered outdoor space, preferably close to the house, so you do not have to trek far in the cold winter weather. Do not store large amounts of wood in the home because potential mold growth will contaminate your indoor air with spores. If you have more questions on firewood or your fireplace and chimney, contact  Pozzi Chimney Sweep to speak with an expert.

Getting The Most Out Of Your Wood Stove

Getting the Most Out of Your Wood Stove

Wood StoveDoes your wood stove give you enough heat? Are you using the right kind of wood to burn?  Aside from using it as a source of heat, can it also be used for other things? Is it safe? These are just some of many questions a wise wood stove owner would start asking once he or she gets a wood stove installed in the home. But the more important question is this: Are you getting the most out of your wood stove?

Here at Pozzi Chimney Sweep, Inc., we want to talk to you about how you can best utilize your wood stove and basically answer all the frequently asked questions above. Rest assured that not only did you make a great choice by having a wood stove installed but you’ll also save you a lot of money.

To start with, wood stoves give supplemental heat in the home using firewood. There are two kinds of firewood you can burn, softwood and hardwood, which need to be properly seasoned for at least six months up to two years.

Wood stoves also come in different variations. There are those manufactured to have a space on top where you can cook easy-to-eat breakfast meals like bacon and eggs. You can also use it to boil water. Some even have an oven. Some are just simple enough to give just the right amount of crackle and heat in the home. These are also easy to clean. After burning the wood, you can collect the residue put it in a container and safely put it outside for disposal.

Also, it can endure the toughest season — winter. As long as there are no damages or problems occurring inside the chimney and the wood stove itself, it’s absolutely ready for the freezing temperatures.

Lastly, it is safe. There are screens to cover it and doors to close the wood stove so that the wood used does not go into the living room and start a fire. It is properly connected to chimney flues which lead the smoke outside safely and efficiently. So it’s also necessary to make sure that your chimney is annually inspected and cleaned to avoid accidents or hazards in the home.

You’ll be getting the most out of your wood stove if it is functioning well and it gives enough heat inside the home. Leave that to us. We can and will absolutely help you in maintaining your wood stove.

Cleaning Your Wood Stove

Cleaning your Wood Stove

Recently in the United States there has been a surge of wood stoves being installed in homes as an alternative to traditional heating methods. While these rustic heating appliances have an aesthetic appeal they also have economic advantages. Having a wood burning stove greatly reduces the heating costs associated with central heat and air. As with any fireplace however, wood stoves do require a certain amount of upkeep to maintain a safe and energy efficient system. One absolute necessity is scheduling an annual chimney inspection.

The first step to cleaning a wood burning stove is to locate the stove’s catalytic combustor between the fire and the stovepipes. The catalytic combustor acts similarly to a filter. Heat activates the catalyst on the grid that the smoke passes through and converts the ash, particulates, and gases to carbon dioxide and water vapor which harmlessly escapes through the chimney and into the atmosphere. To clean the catalytic combustor you need to use a wire brush to remove any ash that has collected on and inside the combustor. This should be done every 2 months or so.

Did you know you can use cooled ash in your compost pile or garden?

Did you know you can use cooled ash in your compost pile or garden?

Next remove the ashes from the stove using a fireplace shovel or similar tool. These ashes should be kept in an air-tight non-combustible container until they have cooled. Once this has happened they can be disposed of or used in gardens or in compost piles. If you decide to use the ashes in the garden it pays to do a soil test first. The main result of using wood ash in the garden is to raise the pH of the soil. If your soil is has a pH of 7 or higher then you should not use the wood ash. Also be aware of the plants you have and if they thrive in high-acidic soil. Examples of these plants would include potatoes and blueberries.

The next step to cleaning your wood stove is to remove any debris from the outside of the stovepipe. Use a wire brush to scrape the outside and clean all the creosote out of the inside. Creosote is flammable and can cause serious problems if left in your stovepipe. You can identify creosote as a yellowish oily compound. If you can’t identify it by sight you should be able to identify the bad smell. Creosote is created when gases in the stovepipe cool and turn to liquid. Make sure to shovel out any debris that may have fallen while you were cleaning the stovepipe. Always double check your work to make sure all the ash and creosote have been removed.

The last step is to clean the window. This is usually done with fine steel wool. If you chose to use a chemical based cleaning product be sure to let it dry completely before use as it can be a fire hazard and can cause dirt and soot to cake onto the window defeating the purpose of cleaning it in the first place. Of course if all of this seems like more work than you care to take on you can always call your local chimney sweep!