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  • Wilkins Chimney Sweep

Season well: is your firewood giving you a tar problem?

I am often asked – what causes tar in a chimney flue? My usual response is: “What are you burning?”

Unseasoned or ‘wet’ wood, as tempting as it may be to use, can create creosote (tarring) in a chimney, as can burning woodburners at a low ‘tick over’ temperature. We’ve all been guilty of using the fire as our ‘secure waste’ disposal or throwing on the Christmas wrapping paper – and indeed crisp packets. These things can potentially lead to igniting tar deposits in the chimney – and cause a chimney fire.

So, this is a great month to consider ordering your logs and seasoning them yourself (dry storage). We have been very surprised at the number of times people believe they are using seasoned wood, only to discover (using our moisture meters) that the wood is really damp! It should only contain 15-20% moisture: it burns more efficiently and makes your log purchases more economical this way.

The basics of good wood-keeping:

  • Your log store should provide protection from the rain and allow air to circulate

  • Short split lengths dry quickest

  • Stack the logs in rows with gaps

  • It is difficult to estimate how long it will take but using a moisture meter will ensure that your wood is seasoned appropriately

If you require any advice on the operation of your solid fuel appliance of the types of fuel to use, your local Wilkins Chimney Sweep will always be happy to assist.

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