As we approach mid-winter and prime wood burning season, the state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection urges residents who burn, to burn clean, dry seasoned firewood.
If you don't, it poses a number of problems.
Unseasoned firewood that is not dry doesn’t burn well and builds up smoky creosote in the walls of the chimney. Enough creosote buildup can ignite.
The fire marshal determined a chimney fire a year ago in December caused a fire in a condo complex in New Haven.
“It’s the moisture content. Green wood doesn’t burn as efficiently as seasoned wood. It takes more energy to break down the wood,” said Poquonnock Bridge Deputy Fire Chief Tim Driscoll.
Wood that is not seasoned or wet smokes, causing air pollution and leaves a black tar-like residue.
Seasoned wood that is sold and delivered by the cord is tested for its moisture content with a digital meter.
“Measure the end of the wood, reads between 19 and 20 percent there,” said Mike Reedy.
Any reading 20 percent and lower is seasoned, meaning its dry enough to burn.
“Also look for hardwood. Hardwood is much better than softwood. You don’t want Pine or Hemlock or something like that,” said Bill Lillie, owner of Sprigs & Twigs.
You can tell if wood is seasoned by looking at the end of the split log if it has check marks or cracks.
Also, make sure your stove burns hot.
Driscoll suggests placing a gauge on your stove pipe.
“As long as you’re up in the burn zone in this area right here you know that the creosote particles are coming out of the chimney and going out to where they belong, anything beneath that you know you’re burning a little bit dirtier,” Driscoll said.
Both the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, and fire experts suggest you have your chimney professionally cleaned at least once a year.
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