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Firewood Basics

Shelter the woodpile from the rain, but don't cover it completely with plastic tarps or store it in an enclosed shed or garage; air circulation is necessary to ensure proper seasoning.

Never burn garbage, mill ends, or individually wrapped compressed sawdust logs in a woodstove. These contain chemicals which, when burned, are highly corrosive to metal.

Unless the stove is EPA approved, never try to make a load of fuel burn longer than 6-8 hours. EPA approved appliances have built-in safeguards to prevent smoldering, but many older airtight can be adjusted to smolder along for extended periods, resulting in heavy creosote deposits.

Operate woodstoves with their draft control wide open for 20-30 minutes each time firewood is added, or until the fresh load is totally engulfed in flames. This will send heat up the flue to help solidify the liquid creosote deposited by the previous load, while kindling the wood to start gasification of the resins for efficient burning.

NEVER try to clean a chimney by deliberately starting a chimney fire. Have the chimney professionally cleaned and inspected at least once per year.

If a chimney fire occurs, close the draft control on the stove completely to quench the supply of oxygen, and call the fire department immediately. Then, make sure the chimney is thoroughly cleaned as soon as possible.

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