What Not To Burn In Your Fireplace


When it comes to building and maintaining a strong and healthy fire, what to burn and what not to burn may seem clear enough. Most people know that burning trash or diapers is not a good idea, but not everything is so obvious. Even certain types of wood are considered a bit more hazardous and can cause issues within your home. Before building your next fire, study up on this list of what not to burn in your fireplace.What Not to Burn in Your Fireplace - Aurora IL - Pozzi Chimney Sweep

  • Cardboard: Although it may seem like no big deal, burning cardboard can ignite a lot of problems. Cardboard is not a natural substance and gets coated with waxes and chemicals throughout the manufacturing process. When burned, these toxins release into the air and can be very harmful to those living in the home. Anything manufactured, such as plastics or plywood, should not be burned.
  • Driftwood: Driftwood is known for building up excess creosote in the fireplace. While some creosote is unavoidable, it is ideal to minimize its build-up as much as possible. Creosote is highly flammable and too much of it increases the likelihood of a chimney fire occurring, putting your home and family at risk.
  • Unseasoned Wood: Burning wood that is still green or just freshly cut is not a safe option. You use up a lot of energy burning off all of the excess water in the wood. This causes the water to turn acidic and build-up in your chimney. You will then be more prone to excess creosote, meaning more cleanings and a higher risk for house fires.
  • Old or Moldy Wood: If the wood you have is rotted or moldy, you may find yourself dealing with some nasty odors when trying to burn it. On top of that, handling old wood could lead to illness after exposing yourself to all of the extra bacteria that comes with mold and mildew build-up. If you come across wood like that, leave it alone.

What To Burn

It’s clear that burning anything that comes from a store or factory is not a good idea. Things that have gone through the production process are often coated in chemicals that will release into the air if they are burned. Wood is always the best option, but even that can be tricky, as it needs to be properly seasoned before use.

Here is what to look for when picking out firewood. If it is dark at the ends and there are cracks or splits, then that is a good indicator the wood is well-seasoned. It will be fairly lightweight because the water will have had adequate time to escape. You can also try hitting two pieces together and if it makes a clear clunking noise, as opposed to a duller thud, then it should be ready to burn.

At Pozzi Chimney Sweep, we have all the tools and resources you need to help you practice safe wood-burning techniques. If you live in and around Aurora, IL, schedule a cleaning and inspection today to ensure your fireplace is safe and ready for use.