Fireplaces and wood stoves are meant to burn wood, but often people are tempted to use them as mini incinerators. Burning anything other than wood in your fireplace or wood stove can be extremely dangerous for so many reasons. I am Melissa from NorthlineExpress and today I am going to go over why you should never be tempted to burn household garbage and other items in your wood stove or fireplace.

You may think that it is better to burn up certain household items rather than burying it in a landfill but in fact, that is not the case. Burning anything other than wood may seem harmless but actually can be harmful to the environment, your family’s health, and also to your fireplace or stove. Only use firestarters that are made for being used in a fireplace or wood stove.

Video Highlights: 0:19 Why not to burn anything other than wood 0:38 Items not to burn and why 2:14 Wood Stove safety features only apply to burning wood 2:32 Poor Fuel Source

Stop Burning these Items

Here are a few of the most common things that you should not be burning in your fireplace or wood stove and why.

Paper and card board– These items are often treated with chemicals or contain inks which are made of chemicals. Burning these chemicals can release hazardous fumes into the air that you breathe inside your home. Paper and cardboard also have the potential to float in the air as it is burning. These burning pieces could leave your fireplace and start a fire in your home. They could also travel up your chimney and cause a chimney fire or another structure outside to catch fire.

Plastics– When plastics are burned you do not really destroy them you just change their chemical form and release hazardous fumes. When plastics are burned, Dioxin, a highly toxic chemical that does not decompose and builds up in human and animal tissues, is released into the air and ash. Airborne dioxin settles in soils and on vegetation, and however the ash is disposed of, its toxic legacy will remain.

Pressure Treated Lumber, Plywood, Particle Board, and Press Board– Similar to paper and cardboard, treated lumber often contains man-made chemicals that are harmful when burned or when the vapors are breathed in.

Christmas trees & green firewood – This happens quite a bit during the holiday season as people put dead branches or the tree trimmings from a Christmas tree into the fireplace or wood stove. This will create significant smoke in the home as the tree is “green.” That extra smoke from green firewood greatly increases creosote buildup in your chimney. Not to mention all of the moisture that the green wood contains, this will lead to a glazed creosote buildup that is very difficult to remove.

Newer models of wood stoves are safety tested and certified to ensure that when properly installed they will be efficient and safe, but they are only tested with wood as a fuel. As a result, none of the safety features, instructions, or clearances provided by manufacturers will be valid if the stove is used as a trash incinerator.

Even if burning house hold garbage was not harmful to you and the environment it would still not be worth burning in a wood stove or fire place because it is all poor fuel sources. They provide very little heat with large amounts of ash. Even if you are just burning some of the things I mentioned to get your fire started it is time to stop!

Click here find a more appropriate fire starter for your fireplace or wood stove.

I hope that you have found this information helpful, but if you still have questions about properly using your fireplace or wood stove or if you want advice about which fire starter would be right for you please give our customer service department a call at 1-866-667-8454. At NorthlineExpress, home of the “Buy and Try” satisfaction guarantee, we are always happy to help.