Wood Burning Efficiency
Have you ever wondered why some fires emit more smoke than others? Firewood smoke is the direct result of the incomplete combustion of wood burning. This firewood smoke can pollute indoor/outdoor air as well as lead to higher wood burning costs. The heavier the smoke, the heavier the pollution and heating costs! Here in our list, we will provide 10 tips to cure the pollution and wasted heating efficiency all while increasing safety.
- When wood burning, only burn seasoned firewood – ‘Seasoning’ refers to the drying of firewood over time. Seasoned firewood should be as dry as possible. The green moisture content of wood is normally above 60 percent, and can range as high as 120 percent for some species. This moisture has to be burned off before heat can be released into your home. Seasoned wood burns cleaner,hotter and more efficiently, helping to decrease creosote buildup in your stovepipe or chimney.
- Make your fires small and hot – For improved efficiency and air quality, you need to focus on making smaller fires. Smaller fires burn volatile gases more rapidly, producing fewer safety and air quality issues than a fire that is larger. While there is an increased work load with smaller, hotter fires, the improved efficiency and air quality are worth the effort.
- Install a stack thermometer on the flue – If you don’t have one already, get it done! A stack thermometer tells you exactly the temperature of the gases as they leave the stove. The Optimum temperature range for the highest efficiency and least pollution is about 300 to 400 F.
- Clean out excess ashes – Oxygen is required for wood burning. It doesn’t matter if it’s a wood burning oven or fireplace – Too many ashes can clog your wood burners’ air-intake vents reducing wood burning efficiency.
- Optimize your home – Everyone should review and improve the energy efficiency of their homes. Review your insulation R level, weather stripping, storm windows and caulking (most utility companies will have more detailed programs for this). Taking these steps will reduce the amount of firewood required to heat your home, which in turn assists in saving money and increasing air quality.
- Look at your chimney – Burning your fire at different volumes can provide valuable information. While doing this go outside and do a visual check for emissions. The absence or reduced level of smoke is indicative that you are burning cleanly and effectively. Understand how a chimney works.
- Inspections – You should be making visual inspections upon every usage of your wood burning unit. Depending on frequency of it’s usage, your wood burning unit should be inspected professionally semi-annually to annually.
- Choose the correct wood burner for the job – No one can tell you what the best wood burning stove is, or which fireplace is the best. There are too many factors that are involved. A properly sized wood stove or fireplace will do its job efficiently. I highly recommend that you to take a floor plan of your home with you when you meet with them so they can customize their recommendations to your specific space and heating needs.
- Purchase the most efficient wood burner within your budget – Quality costs less in the long run. Technology has has come a long way in designing fireboxes, drafts, catalytic combustors and other devices that improve combustion and reduce smoke. Is it time to update?
- Burn the appropriate fuel your wood burner was designed for – Wood for a wood burner is the rule. Garbage should NEVER be burned in your wood burner!
Don’t forget to incorporate a fire safety plan when adopting these steps for wood burning and increasing your efficiency.