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What Not To Burn in Your Fireplace – Tips for Highland IL Homeowners

What Not to Burn in Your Highland, Illinois Fireplace or Wood-burning Stove

Just because it will burn doesn’t mean it belongs in your fireplace or wood-burning stove. It can be tempting to dispose of unwanted trash and even a Christmas tree by burning it in your fireplace, but this is not a good idea. The only thing you should be putting in your stove or fireplace is seasoned wood that is meant for burning.

Unseasoned Wood

unseasoned wood

Many people think that any kind of wood is okay to burn. This simply isn’t true. Seasoned wood is wood that has been cut and allowed to dry out for at least a year. You can’t cut a tree down and stick it in the fireplace or wood-burning stove. Wet, or unseasoned wood, can contain up to 45 percent water that doesn’t burn well. Wet wood produces a lot of smoke and creates dangerous amounts of creosote that can damage your chimney as it builds up. This type of wood also doesn’t produce much heat for your Highland, IL home.


It can be really tempting to dispose of household trash by burning it in the fireplace. But, this burning hazard can cause many problems because much of the trash you might want to burn contains man-made materials that can pollute the air with harmful fumes and gases. Avoid burning the following household waste in your fireplace or wood-burning stove:

  • Colored print such as magazines, wrapping paper, and cereal boxes
  • Household plastics of any type
  • Cardboard
  • Dryer lint

Such waste can produce toxic gases that are corrosive and carcinogenic. In light of this, it is easy to see why the fireplace is not the proper place to dispose of trash.

Fire Accelerants

A burning hazard is a risk you take if you use fire starters or fire accelerants. Never use gasoline, kerosene or charcoal grill starter fluid to start your fire. The fire started with these fire starters and accelerants can cause flare-ups and heat your fireplace or stove and chimney to unsafe levels that may cause damage.

Treated Lumber

If you have old treated lumber lying around, you might think it would be better to burn it rather than throwing it away. But, it is very dangerous to burn treated lumber in a fireplace or wood-burning stove. It contains many chemicals that have been injected into it to prevent bug infestation and decay. Some of these chemicals are so toxic, it is recommended that the wood be handled with gloves. Most treated wood also contains arsenic to extend the life of the lumber. Therefore, the last thing you want to do is burn this type of wood in your home.



You might think that driftwood would be good to burn because it is dry. But, even very dry driftwood shouldn’t be burned in your fireplace or wood-burning stove. It may contain salt that will evaporate and corrode your stove or fireplace and chimney.

Christmas Tree

It can be really tempting to dispose of the Christmas tree by chopping it up and putting it in your fireplace. Since the tree was recently cut down, it is not properly seasoned and will not burn well. Evergreens are not good for burning because they contain high levels of resin which causes the tree to burn quickly and can pop and increase the chance of a chimney fire.

A good rule of thumb is to only use seasoned firewood in your wood-burning stove or fireplace. If you need assistance with your fireplace or chimney, then look no further than Clean Sweep Chimney Service. We will be there ready to assist you when you need us the most. Give us a call today.

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