Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Annual Chimney Inspection Appointments Encouraged During National Chimney Safety Week September 26 – October 2, 2010

The National Chimney Sweep Guild (NCSG) reminds homeowners to schedule annual chimney inspections before using fireplaces and wood stoves this season. Annual chimney inspections allow the chimney sweep to note cracks, creosote buildup or other obstructions which may diminish the functionality of the system and create an environment where chimney fires or carbon monoxide intrusion are likely.

The National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) estimates that 25 percent of home heating fires are caused primarily by creosote buildup in the chimney. NFPA additionally recommends that all chimneys serving gas or wood-burning appliances are inspected on an annual basis.

NCSG encourages homeowners to hire professional chimney sweeps with verifiable memberships, credentials and insurance. NCSG members have access to the latest training and equipment used in the industry and have agreed to abide by a formal Code of Ethics. Homeowners may locate an NCSG member company by visiting

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The National Chimney Sweep Guild (NCSG) is a 501 (c) 6 non-profit trade association existing to promote the success of its members by providing progressive services, encouraging professionalism and ethical accountability, and advancing the chimney and venting industry through public awareness of the trade.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Firewood Selection

The quality of firewood that you burn will greatly affect the efficiency of your system. The main factors you should be concerned with are moisture content, tree species and piece size.

Burning wood that is wet will result in a loss of energy output because the energy being consumed is primarily used for boiling and evaporating the water present in the wood. Properly seasoned wood burns easily and efficiently. Cut and split wood in early spring, stack under cover for burning in the fall.

Consult your firewood dealer for more tips and questions. Wood varies in hardness. While both hard and soft wood can be used for burning in your fuel system, there is a difference between the two types of wood. Generally hard wood will create hotter smoldering coals and will burn for longer periods of time. Soft wood can be used for short hot fires. Use hardwood for longer burns.

Piece size affects the rate of consumption. Larger pieces release their energy slowly. Small pieces are better for short, hot fires.

Finally, a two-three day wood supply should be kept indoors. Wood brought in from outdoors in winter and burned immediately will cool the fire too much and prevent proper combustion.

Wood Hardness

The list to the right shows common wood species arranged in order from hardest to softest.