Burning wood is an eco-friendly, cost-effective, and cozy way to keep your home warm during the cold winter months. Despite what some people may think, burning real firewood requires more tact than simply tossing it in the fireplace and lighting it aflame. Without adhering to proper safety protocol, you risk filling your home with dangerous smoke and toxins.

Here are a few tips from the fireplace experts at Igne Ferro to help you enjoy a healthy, safe, and efficient wood burning fireplace:

Burn Seasoned Firewood Only. Treated or painted wood, plywood, plastics, magazines, and tinfoil can release harmful chemicals when burned. These can negatively impact both your health and the environment.

Split Firewood into Smaller Pieces. If, like most people, you store your firewood outdoors, you may find it difficult to keep dry. Because wood dries from the outside, consider splitting it into smaller pieces (anywhere from four to six inches in diameter) to make it easier to burn.

Let Wood Sit for a Year. Storing your firewood for at least a year before burning it will ensure that it is completely dried out and will burn efficiently. A great way to tell if your wood is dry is to pick up two pieces and smack them together. If you hear a “crack,” your wood is dry. If you hear a dull “thud,” the inside of the wood is likely still moist.

Choose Hardwoods Over Softwoods. Hardwoods like walnut, oak, ash, hickory, madrone, and apple trees make for superior burning material. They are much denser than softwoods, like pine or aspen, and burn longer and hotter. Although hardwoods are slightly more expensive, they last longer.

Add Small Logs Overnight. If your wood burning fireplace is the only source of heat in the home, it’s important to remember to toss a few small fresh logs on the fire before going to bed. This will ensure that the fire continues to burn throughout the night, and, with remaining hot coals, will make rebuilding the fire in the morning easy.

Always Burn More than One Log. On its own, a single log will produce little heat and burn slowly, if at all. To get your fire going, ensure you have at least two logs lit at all times, with smaller pieces of wood like kindling underneath.

The magic of a wood burning fireplace is just as captivating today as it was 100 years ago. Its warmth and crackling flames draw us in for special time with family and friends. To get the best out of your fireplace, it’s important to burn wood the correct way.

For more wood burning tips, or to get started on designing your own wood burning fireplace, contact the experts at Igne Ferro today.