Wood Burning Tips

Wood Burning Tips:

  • Burn dry seasoned wood. Get your wood at least six months before the start of the season to give it a chance to dry out properly.
  • Split, stack and cover it in spring, so it has time to dry properly. Ensure the moisture content of the wood you burn is below 20%.
  • Try not to damper down the fires as that creates more creosote in your system.
  • Aim for a fast, hot burn rather than a slow smouldering burn so toxic gases are hot enough to burn and rise up through the chimney to the outside.
  • Store wood off the ground and cover the top. Try not to have more than 12″ or 30cm of your cover come down each side of your stack, as air circulation is imperative to drying your wood properly.
  • Do not burn garbage or excessive paper.
  • Open the damper fully prior to starting the fire.
  • Always use a spark screen and/or glass doors at the fireplace opening.
  • Always have smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors, and fire extinguishers properly functioning and up-to-date.
  • Chimney cleaning frequency depends on your wood-burning appliance, the moisture content of the wood you burn, how you burn and how much you burn.
  • Remember – Keep your chimney clean. Have your chimney cleaned regularly by someone who has training from Wood Energy Technical Transfer (WETT) or Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) as they can also inspect your chimney and wood-burning appliance for other potential problems.

Wood Burning Appliance Tips:

Maintain your stove or fireplace:

  • The gasket ensures a tight seal between the door and the stove or fireplace, and should be replaced if there are signs of wear or changes in performance.
  • Check the owner’s manual or with a local fireplace dealer for information on other parts that may need occasional replacement (e.g. catalytic converters, baffles, insulation, firebrick, etc.).

When using fireplaces and wood burning stoves in your home, it is essential to follow the following precautions to prevent the build up of CO:

  • The fireplace damper must be open when the fireplace is in use. The open damper allows the smoke and gases to exit.
  • Ensure a fresh air supply into your home.
  • Keep the damper closed when the fireplace is not in use.
  • Once the fire is completely out and the ashes are cold or whenever a wood-burning fireplace is not in use, close the damper. This will prevent air and heat loss up the chimney and cold air drafts from coming down the chimney.


  • There are smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms on every level of the home.
  • You test smoke/carbon monoxide alarms once per month. Batteries are replaced yearly if your alarms are not hardwired.
  • You can hear all alarms in the home, especially in sleeping areas.
  • Smoke alarms more than 10 years old are replaced.
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