What to burn in Woodstove - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 12 Old 05-17-2006, 03:05 AM - Thread Starter
 
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The house that we just bought has a woodstove. I had one for a couple of years as a kid but don't remember much about maintaining it.

What should I avoid putting in the woodstove...such as which woods do not burn well, etc?

I like the idea of having less waste but can I burn stuff like cardboard boxes, etc? Try not to be too harsh on me if I sound like a complete idiot. TIA.

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#2 of 12 Old 05-17-2006, 12:56 PM
 
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I'm guessing you can burn pretty much any wood, but not stuff like firelogs.

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#3 of 12 Old 05-17-2006, 09:42 PM
 
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burning seasoned wood is the key... make sure it's very dry (usually one to two seasons dries it out- cut in june...it's ready in fall)

my dh knows what would is best... usually we use kindling like split pine and newspapers to get it going and then harder woods like oak or hickory once the fire is going. we usually only burn cardboard if we are out of newspapers/scrap papers.

hope this helps.

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#4 of 12 Old 05-17-2006, 10:05 PM
 
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We burn seasoned wood kindling newspaper and thats it. Freshly cut wood is dangerous....although im not sure why good luck with it!

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#5 of 12 Old 05-17-2006, 11:01 PM
 
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Ditto pp about seasoned wood, and also not pine if possible. Also, you NEED to visit this site:

http://www.woodheat.org

Look under "firewood" and "tips and techniques".

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#6 of 12 Old 05-18-2006, 10:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I just looked at that website; thank you!!!

I really appreciate all of the advice. Keep it comin'! I have no qualms about admitting my ignorance when it comes to this woodstove. I have a while to learn before I will actually use it.

More questions:

Do you leave the woodstove burning if you leave the house?

Do you ever "clean" it and how?

What else should I burn/not burn?

doula mama to my nov 05 and my feb 08 babes who wrap me in love.
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#7 of 12 Old 05-18-2006, 12:53 PM
 
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Woodstoves are very common in our area. I don't ever remember really buying wood, just went into the woods and got it split it. Only newspapper to start it. You do need to clean it, but it is like a fireplace, you'll notice the ashed building up and you just swipe them out into a pail or what not. It is really just like a fireplace, but you just close a door to keep the wood buring high.
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#8 of 12 Old 05-19-2006, 10:09 AM
 
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I leave the house while it's burning but only when it's dampered down. We mainly heat with a woodstove so I usually have a fire going all the time during the winter, I prefer to keep it going while I'm out and about or at night so I don't have to start a new one later one. I take out the ashes almost daily, the bottom tray makes that really easy to do. We clean out all the pipes every single year, either ourselves or call a chimney sweep, that is something we do not mess around with. I've known too many houses that have caught on fire because they didn't clean their pipes. I do not burn cardboard in my woodstove, it gives off an odor, that I feel probably isn't that great to breathe with the chemicals.Our starter is newspaper and aspen, we live near a excelsior plant that sells aspen kindling for $5.00, that's as much as you can fit into your track/trailer. Then we burn cedar, pinon, or oak. There is no oak on our property, we buy that if DH had a really busy year and didn't have the time to cut down our own wood.

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#9 of 12 Old 05-21-2006, 11:15 PM
 
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we have 2 woodstoves, and we only burn seasoned (dry) wood - preferable woods like ironwood/oak, and kindling, plus the newspaper that we use to light it. Burning green, unseasoned wood is inefficient, and causes creosote to build up in the chimney, which can lead to chimney fires. We have our chimneys swept every year, but have been told by the sweep that we only need to have him out once every 2 years if we carry on burning really good, hot wood.
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#10 of 12 Old 05-21-2006, 11:18 PM
 
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sorry, just saw the other questions:

we so leave our burning when we're out (heck, it's darned cold here in the winter), but only if it's 'stable' and fairly low...ideally the logs should be more like glowing charcoal at that point.

I would never burn any treated timber - just doesn't seem like a good idea.

Oh, and you may want to consider having carbon monoxide detectors - we do...just in case...and of course smoke alarms too.

and a metal pail for the ashes!
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#11 of 12 Old 05-24-2006, 01:58 PM
 
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We burn whatever has fallen and become available. This winter we had to burn a bunch of pretty 'green' stuff and it wasn't nice, we've got a lot of creosote buildup to show for it.

We do use cardboard to start a fire - layer crumpled paper, cardboard, and then the wood, and then set fire to the paper.

We leave it when we're out all the time. We let it burn down to coal and then place larger-than-usual logs in the woodstove, close to one another, when we'll be out; this encourages coaling without a lot of flame.

Yeah, we have an old pot we use to collect ashes. You need to scoop these out pretty frequently.

We use CSL logs every now and again, they shake down a bunch of crud from the pipes. They don't seem too terribly natural but they work.

And we have a smoke/carbon monoxide detector set to "kitchen" level stationed just a couple feet from the woodstove. We were more worried about the carbon monoxide - smoke we can see and smell, you know? How close are you to your neighbors? They have detectors that communicate remotely now and can alarm a neighbor that "smoke in _______" - being your house - if your houses are close together. Mine and my landlord's are close enough for this but we haven't done it. Mostly because I don't need her to know about it every time I burn dinner or my DD decides it would be great to go fling open the woodstove doors (doing it fast releases a big ole puff of smoke).

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#12 of 12 Old 05-24-2006, 06:19 PM
 
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Ditto the WELL-seasoned hardwoods. If you have to buy wood, don't neccisarily believe them if they tell you it's seasoned. The idiots around here consider five months to be seasoned. We bought our stove in October, and didn't have enough wood on hand to get through the winter, so we bought from a couple different people. Most of what we bought sucked. To see if it's seasoned, drop a piece on cement. It should ring like, well, a large toy block or something else wooden. If it hits with a thunk, there's too much water still in it.

Unseasoned wood choke your chimney with dangerous creosote really quickly. Creosote is very flamable and creates a risk of chimney fires.

You want to avoid pine and really soft woods like linden. They create more smoke and less heat than harder woods.

For starter, we use just newspaper (or cardboard). I avoid using the stuff with colored inks, but my (otherwise very crunchy) husband refuses to sort through it and pull out the color-printed pages... You can buy wax based starter candles, and there are instructions out there for mixing candle wax and sawdust or pinecones to make starters, but I don't know how safe or effective those are.
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