The recent windy, cool weather has caused quite a few people to get outside to burn unwanted leaves, brush, and wood. While we are all aware of the danger of burning in dry or windy weather, the Environmental Protection Agency has a few less-known tips so you can stay safe, be efficient, and earth-friendly!
First, burn only dry, seasoned wood. Properly seasoned wood burns hotter, producing more heat and less pollution. Seasoned wood is darker, has cracks in the end grain, and sounds hollow when struck against another piece of wood.
Use a moisture meter. Wood burns best when the moisture content is 20%. If you are a regular to the wood-burning scene, you can purchase a wood moisture meter for less than $20 to test the moisture content of the wood before you burn it.
Burn hot fires. Once you’ve enjoyed the warmth, many people think they should let a fire smolder overnight, but reducing the air supply does little for heating and increases air pollution. A smoldering fire isn’t efficient.
Start fires with newspaper or dry kindling. This increases burning efficiency.
Regularly remove ashes from your wood-burning appliances to maintain proper airflow. For safety, put ashes in a metal container with a cover and store outdoors.
Never burn painted or treated wood, moldy or wet wood, household garbage, cardboard, or driftwood. They can release toxic chemicals into the air – and your home. During the holidays, remember not to burn Christmas trees or wrapping paper!
You can learn more on the EPA’s Burn Wise website: www.epa.gov/burnwise
This post was written by Eric Sorensen on October 22, 2012