Burning wood may be humanity’s oldest way of producing heat and forming a pleasant ambiance in your home. However, it has a downside. There are several materials that can potentially cause a fire or pose a health hazard to your family when burned. According to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, when household waste, like wood and yard waste are burned, “they produce smoke, which contains vapors and particulate matter.”

Additionally, air pollution from smoke can impact your health. Luckily, there are alternative fuel sources available. Let’s take a look at materials that shouldn’t be burned and alternative options to burning wood in your fireplace.

Common Problems with Burning Wood

Dry, seasoned wood is the best traditional fuel that nearly all of us grew up using. Chilly fall and winter evenings are typically spent next to a roaring fire with family and friends. Whether wood is used in campfires, fireplaces, or fire pits, there is a growing list of reasons why homeowners should take careful consideration of what to burn in the fireplace.

Let’s take a look at a few issues with burning wood:

  1. Burning wood increases air pollution.
  2. Carbon monoxide is released into the air when wood is burned.
  3. Burning commonly leaves creosote residue in the firebox of your fireplace and chimney.
  4. Breathing in tiny particles and gases of wood smoke can irritate the nose, lungs, and eyes.

Materials That Shouldn’t Be Placed in a Fireplace

Wood isn’t the only material that is typically burned in a fireplace. It can be tempting to throw in a few strips of paper or cardboard box. However, you should never burn anything in a fireplace that isn’t meant as a source of fuel deemed appropriate by the fireplace manufacturer. Here are materials that shouldn’t be burned in a fireplace:

  • Anything plastic or containing plastic-like elements
  • Cardboard
  • Charcoal or coal
  • Wet wood

Eco-Friendly Alternative Options to Burning Wood

Generally speaking, individuals who have a wood-burning fireplace or fire pits don’t want to get rid of them or cannot afford a replacement. Fortunately, there are eco-friendly wood alternatives that may be better suited for you and your home.

Eco Logs: Compressed wood chips, sawdust, and excess products such as grape seeds make up eco logs. They give off fewer emissions, burn longer, and often burn hotter.

Soy and Switchgrass Logs: An eco-friendly option that doesn’t leave much of a mess. Because the soy wax burns off as the logs burn, there is no soy residue left in the fireplace once the fire burns out.

Compressed Paper Bricks: More environmentally friendly and burn cleaner than firewood since they are formed out of 100% recycled material.

Not Sure Which Option is Best for You?

There are so many options available when it comes to your fireplace. Whether you choose to stick with wood or look for alternative options, it’s important to have regular chimney maintenance. If you’re looking for professional chimney service in the Milwaukee area, then look no further than the Chimney Expert.

With over 20 years of experience servicing Milwaukee chimneys, we take pride in providing high-quality chimney cleaning, repair, and restoration. Contact us today to receive your free estimate.