Eco-Friendly Practices for Chimney Owners
One of the biggest issues we face in today’s world is the fragile state of our environment. With global temperatures rising and ice caps melting it becomes more and more important to be aware of the environmental impact our decisions have on the world around us. Even though the planet as a whole is warming, it doesn’t mean that the winter will bring any less of a chill and nothing warms us up on a cold winter night better than a roaring fire in a wood-burning fireplace. As wonderful and cozy as it is to sit around a crackling fire with a cup of your favorite warm beverage, it certainly doesn’t help our air quality to be sending all that wood smoke up into the atmosphere. Luckily there are many steps you can take to cut down on your wood smoke emissions and reduce your fireplace’s impact on the world around you. And if green isn’t your thing don’t worry! There are plenty of economic and safety benefits as well!
One of the biggest steps you can take is to have a new chimney insert installed by a qualified professional. Chimney inserts install directly into your fireplace and chimney and work like a wood-stove. This greatly increases the efficiency of your fireplace. Most inserts made after 1992 are certified by the EPA and will help keep the heat where it’s supposed to be. This means a hotter fire, a warmer home, and a cleaner environment. A lot of states have even instituted tax breaks and other incentives for people who use EPA-certified chimney products to heat their home.
Another big way to increase the efficiency of your fireplace is as simple as how your build your fire. It is important to always use dry, seasoned wood. This wood burns cleaner and hotter than green or wet wood. Burning green wood can coat your chimney in a flammable film that can result in chimney fires and could ultimately lead to the loss of your home. Another common mistake that people make when starting a fire is to use a large grate and spread the logs out. The hotter your fire the less byproduct you produce and the more efficient your fireplace is. When you spread logs out over a large grate you will produce more smoke and less heat. The less heat your fire is producing the more wood you have to burn and the more wood you burn the more money comes out of your pocket.
Finally, one of the biggest and most dangerous mistakes people make that can hurt the environment or even burn down your house is “home remedy chimney sweeping”. There are tons of old wives’ tales out there about burning various household items to sweep your own chimney. Unfortunately most of these do much more harm than good. Some will coat your chimney in a flammable muck, some will produce toxic gases, and some will simply cause your chimney to catch fire. It is very important to ALWAYS use a professional, certified chimney sweep to make sure your chimney is clean, eco-friendly, and most importantly safe for you and your family to enjoy. So whether you are trying to go green or just trying to save some money there is no excuse not to practice eco-friendly techniques when it comes to enjoying your wood-burning fireplaces this winter.