While it is commonly accepted that radiant heat is perceived as wood-burning-factoids-img-spartanburg-sc-blue-sky-chimney-sweep-w800-h597“warmer” than forced air heat, heating with wood is not always as straightforward as it sounds.  Here are a few useful things we have picked up over the years.


  • Green firewood contains 50% water by weight and must be heated and dried before it will burn.
  • Green, unseasoned wood provides less heat and causes more creosote formation than dry, seasoned wood.
  • Firewood should be cut and split and stacked in a manner that air can circulate through the stack for approximately 1 year to be considered dry, seasoned wood.


  • Burn each load of wood briskly at approximately 500-600 degrees for the first 20-30 minutes to drive off moisture and reduce creosote.
  • A wood burning stove operates more efficiently and more economically with small, hot fires.
  • When the damper is closed down and airflow to the fire is reduced, incomplete combustion occurs. Inefficient combustion of gases increases chemical emissions and creosote formation in the chimney.
  • Household and other trash may produce harmful chemical emissions when burned.
  • To properly reduce risk issues related to use, the flue from a wood burning device should be inspected and/or cleaned at least once a year.
  • Efficient combustion of gases occurs when the chimney shows little or no visible smoke. Conversely, when the chimney shows lots of smoke, the fire is not burning efficiently.


  • Long runs of stove pipe are not advisable for wood stove installations. Long runs of pipe inhibit draft and combustion efficiency and promote creosote buildup by allowing gases to cool as they travel to the outside.
  • Three major causes of stove inefficiency are 1) insufficient oxygen; 2) low firebox temperature; 3) using a stove too large for the space to be heated.
  • National Fire Protection Association Standard 211 states that all wood burning appliances should be installed with a properly sized liner connected directly to the appliance.


Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps | Bless Your Hearth has the expertise to advise you on selecting good firewood, a properly sized, efficient wood stove as well as how to operate and maintain your fireplace or woodstove.