Safe, Efficient Ways To Fuel & Maintain a Wood Fireplace This Winter

by Homevalue Hardware on October 13, 2022

The race is on this winter to save on heating and fueling our homes, and this cost-saving exercise should include our fireplaces and stoves.

Discover the many new products that can help you get more out of your hearth in our blog below.

 

But First, Maintain And Clean your Fireplace

Before considering the fuel options, it’s wise to ensure that your fireplace works as efficiently as possible.

 

Check out These Blogs

Don’t forget to check out this handy blog we wrote earlier called

It's filled with fireplace cleaning and Safety first tips. To keep an efficient fireplace running, starting with a proper chimney cleaning and an annual inspection is wise. 

In addition, check out our blog filled with fireplace efficiency tips and a good guide on building a decent fire.:

 

Use a Chimney Cap and Chimney Damper

Install a chimney to prevent clogging and bits of snow, hail, or ice from entering your fireplace.

A chimney damper also protects the chimney from dampness, sealing it up when it is not in use. This also prevents hot air inside the home from escaping up the chimney.

 

Efficient Fuel Options for a Wood Fireplace


Better Wood Fuel Options

If you are looking to burn wood logs, make sure you’ve ensured the following:

  • Use Hardwoods. Did you know species such as hickory, white oak, beech, sugar maple, and white ash burn the longest?
  • Used Burn Dry/Kiln-Dried Cured wood for a clean burning, easy-to-light wood that will create an even-burning fire.
  • Do not burn any found wood that is Wet, Green, Rotten or Mouldy wood.

Viable local hardwood options include:

FIREWORX Kiln Dried Hardwood Logs

  • These come in a 350L Crate, 22L pallets or smaller quantities in mesh bags
  • It is made up of alder hardwood logs which contain 20% or less moisture content and provide up to 40% more heat than seasoned logs
  • These logs are 25cm in size and fit most standard wood-burning stoves
  • Alder Hardwood Logs are environmentally friendly and sustainable, with low ash and smoke output. It also protects against creosote buildup

Red Bag Kiln Dried Beech Logs

  • Kiln Dried Beech logs come in 10kg bags and are ideal for home fireplaces, stoves and wood-burning appliances
  • These logs are also approximately 25 cm in length, which makes them compatible with most stoves and small fireplaces
  • NB: The small ash quantities produced from these logs are also excellent garden fertilisers

 

Be Wary of Scrap Wood

You may be tempted to save money using scrap wood such as bits of crates, lumber, construction scraps, painted wood, or other treated wood. Unfortunately, a form of produced wood such as MDF or plywood will not be fit for burning.

This isn’t a safe or most efficient option for an efficient wood fireplace. 

Scrap woods may release chemicals that they have been treated with previously - your home air quality will be compromised if you have family members with respiratory conditions.

 

Store Your Firewood Appropriately

If you are using your wood, season it and store it appropriately.

Did you know that wood with a moisture content close to 20% gets progressively harder to burn on a fireplace? So if you are cutting firewood yourself during a wet time of the year, be wary.

Spend time ensuring the wood is dried before it can be used in your fireplace.

  • Seasoned wood can be dried out naturally, sheltered and stored with sufficient airflow, but this may take 1-2 years.
    • Cut it into manageable logs, ideally 25cm - a foot long, for easy storage
    • Store your wood on a dry platform raised from the ground to facilitate water runoff.
    • Ensure an awning and plastic cover protect the storage area from rain or dampness.
    • Make sure there is good air circulation around the wood to facilitate drying. For example, ensure you create an opening on at least one side of the stored wood pile. This allows wind and sun to dry out the wood naturally.
  • Kiln-dried wood speeds up the process but may cost more to achieve.

 

Consider Peat Briquettes

Although Peat Briquettes may be harder to come by these days, these are still a popular, efficient, smokeless way to sustain your fire. Briquettes are ideal for both open fires and stoves.

 

Don’t use more than 1 Log Starter at a time.

A quick tip, you only need to use one log starter in each fire and use it at the beginning to get the fire going. Once started, do not use more than one.

Nevertheless, it takes all the fuss out of lighting a fire, saving you time!

Look for a reliable fire log made in Ireland. Consider the following:

  • Bord na Mona Firelog - Ireland's first and best firelog, burning up to 2 hours, perfect for a quick glowing fire; it can ideally be used with Bord Na Mona Briquettes or coal.
  • Flamers Ecostarter Smokeless Fire Log: This is also a LongBurning, ECO-Friendly, CO2 Neutral firelog that can Burn for up to two hours. It is smokeless and made from natural raw materials.

 

Efficient Fuel Alternatives to Wood

If you are looking for alternatives to consuming wood, here are some new products on the market. Take a look below.

 

Heat Logs 

Heat logs are usually created by compressing hardwood sawdust or other organic fuel material into logs. It is a cleaner alternative to firewood.

They have a natural log appearance that looks great in a fire and are usually made in a uniform size and shape, making them easy to store

Here are some options

  • Flamers Shimada Heat Logs: A highly efficient, high heat output solid fuel hardwood sawdust that will have your home toasty and warm in no time. It also contains a low ash content and high heat output; they are a perfect addition to your Stove, Open Fire or Chiminea.
  • Flamers Premium Wood logs are a fantastic smokeless fuel choice that gives high heat FAST! It is an entirely natural product with no additives or binders - suitable for all Stoves, Open Fires, and Chimineas. In addition, the low ash content of these logs makes for less cleaning and more toasty evenings by the fire.
  • Megatherm Fire Logs: These logs are suitable for wood stoves, open fires and log burners. Produced from waste Beech sawdust and is classed as a smokeless fuel with less than 1% ash
  • FIREWORX Nestro 100% Oak Wood Briquettes These oak briquettes create a mighty flame, a long, intense glow and that unique fragrance of oak wood.

 

Ready For a More Efficient Fireplace

A Quick Shopping list

Stop by our FUEL section to catch an overview of the accessories and brands available.

 

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