Never Burn These Items in a Fireplace

It’s fireplace season in many areas right now, and this is your friendly reminder that a fireplace is not an incinerator. If you have a real, wood-burning fireplace, you do need to feed it, but as it turns out, you can’t just pop in anything made of wood — or other materials, for that matter — and call it a day. In some cases, even what appears to be firewood shouldn’t go in the fireplace. That’s because firewood needs to be properly seasoned — meaning it contains little-to-no moisture, and the seasoning process takes at least a year. You can recognize seasoned wood by its appearance— properly dried wood is gray in color, cracked or checked, with loose or detached bark. Even if firewood is properly seasoned, it can’t go in the fireplace when it’s wet or damp, so be sure to store yours somewhere that’s shielded from the elements. When you burn a piece of wood, you’re also burning everything on it — including the chemicals used to treat or paint the wood, or adhesives that hold manufactured wood like particle board together. For this reason, you should also avoid burning wood pallets, as they're often treated with chemicals. Christmas trees should never be burned in your fireplace either. That’s because that sticky stuff that’s on live Christmas trees will increase the amount of creosote in your chimney. Finally, never ever burn printed, colored, or coated paper products, and never burn anything made of plastic.