Burning Tips

September 2014 Tips for the first fire of the season.

Hopefully, you have well seasoned wood ready to go. CUT AND SPLIT a minumum of 6 months.

Start your first fire small, make sure the smoke goes up and not back into the house.

Keep in mind, as it gets colder out, the draft in the flue increases. When you burn when the temp outside is above freezing, the smoke goes up the chimney slower than if the air temp outside is colder. Draft is created by the temperature differential inside and outside the home. Slower draft means more time for creosote build up in the flue.

Burning seasoned wood and giving your fires plenty of air will assure thoroughly burned wood in the firebox and less condensed wood smoke (creosote) in the chimney.

Burn on.


November 2014 – what’s ok to burn in their fireplace or wood stove?

The Chimney Safety Institute of America, CSIA, where we get our
national certification produced a video you may find interesting
about what’s not ok to burn. The education director at CSIA,
Ashley Eldridge, hosts the video. Ashley knows way too much about
burning and fire safety and also was our instructor 17 years ago
when we attended the national chimney sweep training program. The
CSIA also provides us with continuing education and certifies us
every three years through testing.  Here’s the link to the utube video

Feel free to forward this email.  Have a nice Thanksgiving and burn safe.


January 2015Burning less then seasoned wood?

Many of our customers have mentioned it has not been easy getting seasoned wood this year because of the long winter last year. Here we are again in a long winter unless spring comes early, which would be fine with us.

If your wood is not cut AND split for a minimum of six months, there’s a few things to keep in mind.

Good seasoned wood has about 15% moisture content and when burned thoroughly will produce “good creosote”: grey ashy looking soot, which is really not flammable.
If you are trying to burn wood with more moisture, you could be producing black crusty glazy creosote, which is highly flammable and is the fuel for chimney fires.

Fire needs air to thoroughly burn the wood in the firebox so less condensed wood smoke goes up the chimney. If your wood is less than seasoned (moisture content about 15%) the fire may require more air than you normally provide to thoroughly burn the wood. If you damper down, back it off a bit to give the fire more air. This will help fully combust the wood in the firebox rather than producing a nasty mess in the chimney flue.

Your firebox is a good indicator of what’s going up the flue. If you see a black shiny coating on the firebox walls, that could be a good indication you’re not thoroughly burning the wood and you need more air. If you see a fine ash on the firebox walls, then you’re probably doing all the right things.

If you are burning less than good seasoned wood, keep an eye on your chimney cap, especially if you have a screen around it. Usually you can get a good angle to see through the chimney cap as you are pulling up to the house. Binoculars really do help to check out the situation. You want to be able to see clearly through the chimney cap and screening, if it is there. Many times the chimney cap screen is the first thing to clog with glaze creosote.

We hope your winter is going well. We will be shutting down the business at the end of January so Hythe can get her hip arthroscopic surgery completed. We will be ready to get back to chimney cleaning and repair work mid April. Marilyn, Order Services Rep, will be on the phones and internet 9am to noon daily and will be taking appointments for April and beyond.

Burn on.


February 2015  – EPA News Release.

We hope everyone is having a good winter. Hythe completed arthroscopic hip surgery last week and is recovering nicely. We will be ready to start up chimney cleanings in April.

Below is an interesting news release we received from the EPA on new emission standards for wood stoves. We thought it might be of interest.

The Clean Air Act requires EPA to set new source performance standards (NSPS) for categories of stationary sources of pollution that cause, or significantly contribute to, air pollution that may endanger public health or welfare. The agency’s final rule announced today updates the 1988 standards for woodstoves and sets the first-ever federal standards for hydronic heaters, wood-fired forced air furnaces (also called warm-air furnaces), pellet stoves and a previously unregulated type of woodstove called a single burn-rate stove. These standards do not cover fireplaces, fire pits, pizza ovens, barbecues or chimineas.

WASHINGTON *– The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is finalizing standards to limit the amount of pollution that wood heaters, which will be manufactured and sold in the future, can emit. These standards, which were last updated in 1988, reflect the significantly improved technology that is now available to make a range of models cleaner burning and more efficient. Today’s final rule will provide important health benefits to communities across the country and will be phased in over a five-year period, giving manufacturers time to adapt their product lines to develop the best next-generation models to meet these new standards. The final rule does not affect current heaters already in use in homes today. It also does not replace state or local requirements governing wood heater use. Instead, it ensures that consumers buying wood heaters anywhere in the United States in the future will be able to choose from cleaner-burning

Wood heaters, which are used around the clock in some areas, can increase particle pollution, sometimes called soot to levels that pose serious health concerns. Particle pollution is linked to a wide range of serious health effects, including heart attacks, strokes and asthma attacks. People with heart, vascular or lung disease, older adults and children are the most at risk from particle pollution exposure. Smoke from wood heaters also includes volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide and air toxics. EPA’s updated standards will build on the work that states and local communities have done to improve air quality in these communities and are based on significant improvements in technology.

Emissions from new models will be reduced by roughly two-thirds, improving air quality and providing between $3.4 and $7.6 billion in public health benefits. This means that for every dollar spent to bring cleaner heaters to market, the American public will see between $74 and $165 in health benefits. Consumers purchasing new models will also benefit from efficiency improvements, which means they will use less wood to heat their homes. Consumers can play an important role in cutting pollution by following the guidelines in their owner’s manuals and following best burning [ http://epa.gov/burnwise/bestburn.html ] practices available on EPA’s website.


March 2015 – Different types of creosote.

Below is a link to a YouTube video featuring Ashley Eldridge, Education Director at the Chimney Safety Institute of America, CSIA, where we get our certification, complete continuing education and tested every three years to maintain our certification. Ashley explains the different types of creosote. We hope we’re not only ones who find this interesting.  Link to video