How To Choose The Proper Firewood

A crackling fire on a cool fall or winter evening sets a beautiful aesthetic in any home. Once a fire gets going, it seems to draw family members together in a hurry, as everyone gathers around and takes advantage of the warm and cozy atmosphere the wood-burning unit has created.Stack of properly dried and seasoned firewood

That is, unless the firewood is creating some unpleasant effects. Using unseasoned firewood can trigger lots of issues like excess smoke, less heat, and more creosote accumulation (which can then trigger unpleasant odors and structural issues). All in all, it’s well worth it to either season your own wood pile or take the time necessary to examine the wood you purchase, ensuring it’s adequately dried out and ready to burn.

Why do issues occur with unseasoned wood? Well, the fresher the log is, the more water it will contain, meaning your fire has to put in a lot of extra work and energy to burn out all that extra moisture. This takes time and it causes a lot of acidic water to be sent through your chimney, which isn’t good for your chimney’s health

Along with this, burning wood with lots of moisture also makes your fireplace experience less than ideal. Learn more about how to differentiate between seasoned and unseasoned wood by reading below, or you can feel free to contact our staff here at Lords Chimney with any questions. We’re always happy to help you create a more enjoyable burning season!

Seasoned Vs. Unseasoned Wood

If you’re purchasing wood to burn, there are a few key characteristics to note before making any final decisions. First off, check the length of the wood. If it’s cut short, that’s a good sign that the person seasoning it knew what they were doing. The less mass, the less water there is, ensuring it drys out faster. Splitting the ends also speeds up this process, so look for that, too.

Noting the color and weight of the wood is a wise step, too. Fresh wood is still vibrant-looking and has a pleasant aroma. Wood that has been sitting for some time is typically faded and darker in color. Also, when you lift it will feel lighter in weight, since most of the water is evaporated. Try hitting two pieces together. If they sound hollow, they’ve been seasoned. If they make a duller, thud-like noise, they likely need more time on the wood pile.

Storing Your Own?

Obviously, the most surefire way to get exactly what you want from the wood you burn is to season your own. Store it in a place that is open, yet protected, such as a wood shed with open sides and a sturdy roof, and let it sit for at least six months before putting it to use. Ensure the pieces are cut short and split on the ends to get things moving faster.

Call On Us For All Of Your Fireplace Maintenance

If your wood pile is ready to go, and you’re ready to put your system to use, call us in for your annual inspection. Our team is CSIA certified and ready to serve, guaranteeing you a safer and better functioning system every single year. There’s no time to lose – call today!

Why It Is Important To Use Seasoned Firewood

Did you know that using properly seasoned firewood can make a huge difference in the wellbeing of your chimney? It may not seem important which logs you throw on those flames, but the truth is that it matters a lot! Not only is it bad for your liner and brickwork, but it makes your fires less productive, too! Get the experience you deserve from your fireplace by burning only seasoned wood this holiday season.

Learn more about the importance of seasoned firewood below. Be sure to depend on Lords Chimney for all of your fireplace and chimney needs!

Avoiding Excess Smoke

Unseasoned wood uses up more energy, causing your fire to smoke. When wood is originally chopped, there is a lot of moisture inside of it still, and it takes some time for the log to properly dry out. When fresh wood is used in a fireplace, the flames are forced to use up a ton of energy burning through all that extra water. This triggers smoke to build up and pour out into your living room, quickly turning a cozy evening in into a disaster.

Smoke in your home is also an issue when it comes to the health of loved ones. Toxins and fumes from your fireplace should never be inhaled, and they could trigger some serious illnesses. Along with this, smoke stinks up your home and getting that unpleasant smell out of your furniture, carpet, and curtains will definitely take up some valuable time and money.

Lowering Creosote Accumulation

Burning unseasoned firewood triggers a more rapid accumulation of creosote, too. Creosote forms as fires burn in your chimney and, when there’s a lot of it, you face some serious risks. Too much creosote can easily cause a chimney fire to form, meaning you’ll be spending a lot of time and money on necessary repair jobs. If you have been burning unseasoned wood, make sure you’re investing in more inspections and cleanings each year, so that you can avoid a chimney fire at all costs.

Experiencing More Efficiency

When you burn fresher wood, you’ll also experience less heat output from your fire, which isn’t good when you’re trying to save money on your monthly heating bills. While winters aren’t typically too harsh around here, that doesn’t mean we don’t experience lower temperatures. Many invest in a fireplace so that they have a better, more cost-effective way to heat their home when things get cool.

Unfortunately, unseasoned wood won’t get you that warmth you’re looking for. We believe you deserve to get the most from your fireplace… invest in seasoned wood every time, so that your system runs as efficiently as possible.

Picking Seasoned Firewood

It’s easy to make sure you’re picking the best fuel for your fires this holiday season. Look for logs that are lightweight, dark and split at the ends, and that makes a hollow sound when hit together. These surefire signs indicate that the wood has been adequately dried out, and your fires will burn much better going forward.

For more information, turn to our professional and helpful staff today. The CSIA certified techs at Lords Chimney can’t wait to help you out soon!

How To Complete A Top-Down Burn

Top Down Fire Constructing Image - Houston TX - Lords ChimneyLighting a fire in your fireplace can be a struggle if you have little experience building them. If you find yourself settled in for a cozy evening and want to enhance the atmosphere with a warm fire, then try out the top-down method for a long-lasting, low maintenance burn.

Picking Well-Seasoned Wood

Building a successful fire requires well-seasoned wood. Look out for the following things when picking out your fuel:

  • Dark ends
  • Split ends
  • Lightweight
  • Sounds hollow
  • Shorter pieces

Purchasing well-seasoned wood is vital in creating an efficient fire. Fresh cut wood contains too much moisture. It uses up a lot of energy and causes your fire to smoke excessively! This means less heat for your home and more creosote build-up in your chimney. Creosote can trigger house fires and is not good for the health of your fireplace, as a whole. Ensure a strong burn by taking the time to find the best logs available. The extra effort will keep smoke away and will ensure your family and home stay as safe as possible.

Step By Step Instructions

There are countless benefits in building a top-down fire. The fire will never fall onto itself, less smoke is created, and re-fueling the fire isn’t necessary. All in all, it is a safer, more efficient, and highly convenient way to use your fireplace.

To build a successful top down fire, follow these steps.

  • Step 1: Find you largest pieces of firewood that you can. Place these pieces on the floor of your fireplace, with the ends at the opening and the back. This will ensure better air flow through the wood pile, thus creating a more efficient burn.
  • Step 2: Now, continue stacking! Pile more levels on your bottom row, making the pieces smaller and smaller as you go. You should end up with around 5 – 7 levels total and the pile should go no higher than half the height of your fireplace.
  • Step 3: When you pile is built, you can add the kindling. Kindling consists of smaller twigs and branches that will easily ignite. Keep adding on smaller and smaller pieces. These are the items you will light first. You may also use crumpled up newspaper if you are looking for a very easy start to your fire.
  • Step 4: Light your smallest pieces of kindling, and enjoy! Once your fire is lit, it should move down the wood pile with ease. All that is left for you to do is relax.

If your fireplace is in need of a tune-up, inspection, cleaning, repair, or more, please contact the certified experts at Lords Chimney. We can set you up with all of the appropriate tools, so your fireplace is ready to go for 2017. Start the year off right by investing in us today!

Smoking Fireplace

Fireplaces Bad Smoking Image - Houston TX - Lords ChimneyNothing can ruin a fire more than smoking problems. Whether smoke is blowing back into the room, the fire is burning sluggishly, or a smoky odor remains hours – if not days – after the fireplace has been used, smoking problems may be to blame.

Because there are a number of different causes of smoking fireplaces, there is no one easy answer or solution. Instead, a CSIA certified chimney sweep can use tools such as a chimney inspection to identify the underlying cause of the smoking problem.

Causes of a smoking fireplace

There are as many as 15 different causes of draft issues and smoking fireplaces. The following are four of the most commonly seen smoking problems.

  • Flue blockage: Flue blockages occur when debris or buildup constrict or block air flow through the flue. This blockage causes the smoke to back up into your home instead of drafting up and out of the chimney. Two of the most common causes of flue blockages are debris such as leaves and sticks and animals and their nesting materials. A quality chimney cap along with regular chimney sweepings and inspections can help remove and prevent future blockages.
  • Burning the wrong firewood: The type of wood you use has a surprisingly big impact on the quality of your fires. The best wood for indoor fireplaces is seasoned hardwoods such as birch, oak, or ash. Freshly cut or green wood has high moisture content and should be avoided; this causes the wood to smoke excessively as well as burn sluggishly with less heat.
  • Improperly sized flue: A flue that is too large or too small for the fireplace cannot draft properly. If the flue is too large, the chimney pulls down too much air and smoke blows back into the room. likewise, a flue that is too small is unable to quickly draw smoke up the chimney, leading to smoke that lingers or sits in the home. Draft issues caused by an improperly sized flue are most commonly seen in homes where the original fireplace has been replaced. To avoid this, check with your chimney professional to see if you need to have your chimney relined if a new insert or stove is installed into an existing hearth.
  • Negative air pressure: Chimney height, nearby buildings, and trees can all affect the air pressure around your home. For both safety and drafting purpose, standard building codes require chimneys to be at least two feet taller than any structures within a 10 foot radius. Building an addition, adding a second story, or allowing large trees to grow nearby can create a negative air pressure and prevent the chimney from drafting correctly.

Let us fix your smoking fireplace!

You don’t have to live with a drafty fireplace, smoky odor, or soot-covered furnishings. Let the expert chimney technicians at Lords Chimney uncover – and repair – the cause of your smoking chimney. Contact us today to help resolve your smoking chimney and enjoy your fireplace this winter!