Do you feel uncomfortable with a lot of smoke in your house? There are many factors that contribute to such in your house. No one would like to have smoke in their living room while trying to catch some sleep. Plus, smoke stains the seats and walls. Of course, there are no wood fireplaces that have no smoke totally. It is all about minimizing the amount of smoke.
The type of wood you choose also depends on the heat energy produced. The greater the heat produced the better. The bonus is producing less smoke. So, we will compare different categories of wood to see how they perform. These include;
- Hard and Soft Fireplace Woods
Typically, wood from hardwoods of leafy trees will produce more energy compared to wood from softwood evergreen trees. Beech and Oak are examples of dense hardwood trees. Their wood produces a lot of heat with less smoke. This can only happen if they are properly seasoned. Also, hardwoods produce hot coals that give off radiant heat. Softwoods burn down fast into ash.
- Green and Seasoned Wood
When choosing fireplace wood, you also have to consider the moisture content. Greenwood has more moisture content than seasoned wood. They will therefore produce more smoke and less heat. This is not what you want in your home. The best fireplace wood is well seasoned and dry.
What Woods Should You Avoid
We all want to save up on the costs of heating our houses. Salvaging wood or any other scraps will help you save money. So, what type of woods do I avoid using for my health and the safety of the home? The majority of these will produce toxic fumes that also cause concern for the environment.
You should avoid using the following;
- Pressure-treated Lumber
- Varnished or Painted wood
- Engineered wood products like plywood, MDF and particle board
- Hardboard or any other compressed paper products
Incredible Tips To Help You Reduce the Amount of Smoke in Your Fireplace
Here we will discuss how you can control the amount of smoke in your fireplace. It is all about some simple hacks that have been approved. These include;
- Start Your Fires at the Back of Your Fireplace
Building your fire at the back as much as possible will reduce the smoke coming out. This is because the fire is closer to the chimney which takes the smoke out. I think this is the first thing you are taught when learning how to light a fireplace.
- Using a Fireplace Grate
A fireplace grate helps in elevating the fire closer towards the chimney. It also aids with the airflow for the proper burning of the wood. Any smoke being produced will thus have a higher chance of going out rather than flowing into the room.
There are several types of fireplace grates available in the market. They are heavy-duty and hold the fire at the back of the blackwall. Their shape allows you to continue adding more wood while the smoke gets released through the chimney. If the smoke problem continues when using a grate, consider looking for a specially designed fireplace grate.
- Using Top-Down Method to Build Your Fire
To start a fire without much smoke, you need to differ from the conventional way of starting a fire. It involves setting the fire logs first before adding kindling and fire starters. Arranging the logs is important for a proper fire start-up. Kindlings are arranged in a criss-cross manner. Less smoke is produced because there are fewer obstructions to the fire receiving enough air.
When the fire is started at the base, smoke problems can not be avoided. The fire starters are placed before adding the kindling and logs. The fire will get smothered and start producing smoke. This is because the fire is denied an efficient air supply.
- Warm the Chimney to Form A Draft
This is another brilliant way to reduce smoke being produced in your fireplace. Preheat the chimney with a small fire to start a draft. This is done before building your fire. The draft helps maintain a continuous cycle of releasing waste gases and intake of fresh air.
Cold air is trapped in the chimney means there is no draft. You have to create the draft yourself by lighting a sheet of newspaper at one end. You can then place it under the chimney and let it burn for some time until the air is warm. Combining this method with a top-down approach will help minimize smoke production as much as possible.
- Cleaning the Chimney
Chimneys are recommended to be cleaned once a year. If you have not done that for years, it will be a good idea to have it cleaned. A dirty chimney can cause your fire to produce more smoke than usual. This is as a result of less air intake.
- Use Dry and Well-Seasoned Firewood
This is where we address the root of all smoke problems in a fireplace. When wood is not burnt properly, it produces smoke. Why would wood not burn properly? It is because the moisture content is too high. It is difficult to burn wet wood because extra energy is needed to burn the excess moisture off.
For less smoke, make sure you burn wood with less than 20% moisture content. The higher the percentage of moisture content, the harder it becomes to burn the wood. You can tell the wood is dry by feeling its weight and has a rich brown color. Split ends and dry barks peeling off can help you also tell that the wood is dry.
To be accurate with your fireplace wood, you can use a moisture meter. It accurately measures the moisture content in any wood to ensure you burn dry wood. It will be easy for you to identify wet wood. This is an essential tool if you have a fireplace in your home.
We cannot prevent smoke but we can do our best to reduce it in our fireplaces. The best fireplace wood is the one that is well-seasoned. You can also use other approaches named above to reduce the amount of smoke produced. Do not forget to purchase a moisture meter.