What Not to Burn

Having a fireplace or a wood burning stove can be a delightful experience. Snuggling up on a cold evening in front of the crackling flames creates a cozy ambiance in your home. When you operate your fireplace correctly, you can enjoy your fire without fear of danger. However, if you don’t take the necessary safety precautions, your beautiful fireplace can quickly turn into a massive safety hazard.

Check out these tips for items you should never burn in your fireplace or wood burning stove. Remember, scheduling frequent chimney cleaning is one of the most important ways to ensure your fireplace or wood stove operates safely. If you haven’t booked a cleaning recently, reach out to our expert team and schedule chimney cleaning soon. We can help you keep your home safe through proper chimney maintenance and repairs.

Paper Products With Ink

If you like to save up your old magazines, wrapping paper, and junk mail to burn in your fireplace, you might want to reconsider this method of disposal. While these items all burn easily and quickly, they are not safe to burn inside your home as the inks often release toxic chemicals into the air.

Avoid burning any glossy papers as well, such as the ones found in magazines, as the gloss will not burn cleanly. When you burn toxic items in your fireplace, you are subjecting you and your family to breathing in those particulates. This can cause irritation to your lungs and potential damage to your airways.

Treated Woods

While wood is an obvious choice for burning in your fireplace, make sure you are burning the correct wood. Any wood that has been treated or stained is not safe to burn inside your home. You should also avoid any woods that have glue on them. Stick to natural firewoods that have never been treated chemically to avoid releasing these toxic fumes into your home.

Old Packaging

It may seem like the “green” thing to do but burning your trash is not actually a wise plan. Old packaging, even if it is cardboard or paper-based, should never be thrown into the fire. Much of this packaging is treated with chemicals, dyes, and inks, which will all cause toxic fumes when burned.

Plastic Materials

Burning plastic is extremely bad for both the environment and your lungs. Instead of collecting plastic trash to burn in your fireplace, opt to recycle plastics. When you burn plastic, extremely toxic chemicals called dioxins are released into the air. Dioxins are harmful to any living organisms and are carcinogenic. For this reason, plastic should never be burned, particularly inside of a home.

Gasoline or Lighter Fluid

If you have trouble lighting your fire, it may be tempting to throw some gasoline or lighter fluid into your fireplace or wood burning stove. However, these items should never be used to accelerate your fire. Not only do they produce toxic fumes, they are also extremely dangerous to utilize inside your home. Too much of either of these products can lead to an out-of-control fire and even the smallest trace of their liquid can cause your fire to exit the fireplace and spread into your home.

Certain Plants

While it may seem counterintuitive that burning a plant could ever be construed as a bad thing, certain plants will actually release particles into the air that will irritate your lungs. For example, poison ivy is not only bad to touch, it can cause you severe lung irritation if burned. Avoid burning plants that you are uncertain of to ensure you do not cause an allergic reaction in anyone in your home.

Wet Wood

Not only does wet wood make starting a fire difficult, it is not wise to burn inside your home as it will create excessive smoke. This smoke is irritating to your lungs and will create a build-up of soot faster in your chimney than burning dry wood. Wet wood doesn’t burn as hot as dried wood, which makes the buildup of creosote occur at a faster rate. Make sure that when you choose wood you are opting for seasoned wood.

Keep Your Home Safe With Frequent Chimney Cleaning

When you own a fireplace or wood-burning stove, keeping your home safe should be a top priority. Ensuring you only burn the right things is one way to keep safe, as is proper chimney maintenance. If you realize you have been burning items that are on our do not burn list, it is time to schedule a chimney cleaning. Ensure any dangerous chemicals and toxins are cleared out of your chimney to allow for the safe operation of your fireplace or stove.

If you are in need of chimney cleaning here in Frederick or throughout Western Maryland, we can help. Contact an expert chimney sweep today to learn more about how we can help you maintain your chimney. From cleaning to repairs, we handle it all.