Use Dry, Seasoned Wood

Seasoned wood is any wood that has been split, stacked, covered and stored for at least six months. For an efficient fire, burn only dry, seasoned wood. Burning wet wood is a waste of energy and money

Wet wood produces less heat, more smoke, and requires more wood to get the same amount of heat.

Use Dry, Seasoned Wood

Seasoned wood is any wood that has been split, stacked, covered and stored for at least six months. For an efficient fire, burn only dry, seasoned wood. Burning wet wood is a waste of energy and money

Smoke is made up of a complex mixture of gases and fine particles that can be harmful to your health. The small particles in smoke can also negatively impact those who might suffer from asthma attacks.

Use Dry, Seasoned Wood

Seasoned wood is any wood that has been split, stacked, covered and stored for at least six months. For an efficient fire, burn only dry, seasoned wood. Burning wet wood is a waste of energy and money

Smoke creates creosote, a black, corrosive and flammable by-product that can build up inside the chimney. This causes higher maintenance costs.

Use Dry, Seasoned Wood

Seasoned wood is any wood that has been split, stacked, covered and stored for at least six months. For an efficient fire, burn only dry, seasoned wood. Burning wet wood is a waste of energy and money

Wood must have a moisture content less than 20% before burning (RDCO Bylaw 773). Properly dried wood is lighter, has cracks in the grain on the end, and sounds hollow when knocked against other wood.

Use Dry, Seasoned Wood

Seasoned wood is any wood that has been split, stacked, covered and stored for at least six months. For an efficient fire, burn only dry, seasoned wood. Burning wet wood is a waste of energy and money

When the weather is mild, opt for softwood, such as clear tamarack or fir. A small softwood fire is an ideal, quick way to add warmth without overheating your home.

Use Dry, Seasoned Wood

Seasoned wood is any wood that has been split, stacked, covered and stored for at least six months. For an efficient fire, burn only dry, seasoned wood. Burning wet wood is a waste of energy and money

When the weather is colder, opt for hardwoods, such as birch (preferably de-barked), which burn longer.

Use Dry, Seasoned Wood

Seasoned wood is any wood that has been split, stacked, covered and stored for at least six months. For an efficient fire, burn only dry, seasoned wood. Burning wet wood is a waste of energy and money

To ensure your wood is dry, season it ahead of time by splitting, stacking, covering and storing it for at least six months.

Use Dry, Seasoned Wood

Seasoned wood is any wood that has been split, stacked, covered and stored for at least six months. For an efficient fire, burn only dry, seasoned wood. Burning wet wood is a waste of energy and money

Checklist Before Starting a Fire

A smoke-free fire is possible. Follow these steps to light a fire without putting the health of your family and neighbours at risk.

Avoid burning wood when the air quality conditions are poor. Poor air quality conditions happen when:

  • The venting index is less than 34 and/or
  • Particulate matter (PM2.5) is 15 µg/m3 or greater.
View current air quality conditions.

Non-chemical fire starter

Tinder can be any dry, easily lit, shredded material, such as cedar bark, grass, pine needles, and wood shavings. Avoid newspaper, as it produces a lot of smoke, and the ink releases toxic fumes.

Checklist Before Starting a Fire

A smoke-free fire is possible. Follow these steps to light a fire without putting the health of your family and neighbours at risk.

Avoid burning wood when the air quality conditions are poor. Poor air quality conditions happen when:

  • The venting index is less than 34 and/or
  • Particulate matter (PM2.5) is 15 µg/m3 or greater.
View current air quality conditions.

Lots of dry kindling

You should be able to snap kindling with your hands, and it should be 2.5cm/1in in diameter.

Checklist Before Starting a Fire

A smoke-free fire is possible. Follow these steps to light a fire without putting the health of your family and neighbours at risk.

Avoid burning wood when the air quality conditions are poor. Poor air quality conditions happen when:

  • The venting index is less than 34 and/or
  • Particulate matter (PM2.5) is 15 µg/m3 or greater.
View current air quality conditions.

Properly dry wood

Less than 20% moisture content is the legal requirement to burn wood. Properly dried wood is lighter, has cracks in the grain, and sounds hollow when knocked against another piece of wood. Get a moisture meter from your local hardware store.

Checklist Before Starting a Fire

A smoke-free fire is possible. Follow these steps to light a fire without putting the health of your family and neighbours at risk.

Avoid burning wood when the air quality conditions are poor. Poor air quality conditions happen when:

  • The venting index is less than 34 and/or
  • Particulate matter (PM2.5) is 15 µg/m3 or greater.
View current air quality conditions.

Small logs

Use a few of these for the night.The ideal size is about 8-15cm (3-6in).

Checklist Before Starting a Fire

A smoke-free fire is possible. Follow these steps to light a fire without putting the health of your family and neighbours at risk.

Avoid burning wood when the air quality conditions are poor. Poor air quality conditions happen when:

  • The venting index is less than 34 and/or
  • Particulate matter (PM2.5) is 15 µg/m3 or greater.
View current air quality conditions.

Big logs

Smaller logs are recommended, and if you have a good hot base you will need fewer big logs. If you do use bigger logs, the ideal size is 15-25cm (6-10in) or, in big fireboxes, 25-30cm (10-12in).

Checklist Before Starting a Fire

A smoke-free fire is possible. Follow these steps to light a fire without putting the health of your family and neighbours at risk.

Avoid burning wood when the air quality conditions are poor. Poor air quality conditions happen when:

  • The venting index is less than 34 and/or
  • Particulate matter (PM2.5) is 15 µg/m3 or greater.
View current air quality conditions.

Safety

Keep the area clean around the wood stove to prevent a fire. Check your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector regularly.

Steps to Burn it Smart

Step 1

Setting the fire

Open the air inlet damper when starting or restocking your fire. Add the tinder to your fire box. Loosely cross-stack 10 to 20 pieces of kindling. Leave air space between pieces of wood. Never overfill the firebox.

Steps to Burn it Smart

Step 2

Ignition

Set the air flow to high and light the fire. Leaving the door slightly open can help intensify the fire. As soon as the wood is well lit, close the door.

Steps to Burn it Smart

Step 2

Ignition

Wait 5 minutes or until the wood creates a bricking pattern, before the next step. Never leave your fire unattended!

Steps to Burn it Smart

Step 3

Small logs

Add on 3 or 4 small logs. Wait 5-10 minutes to get these well lit and starting to create a brick pattern before the next step.

Steps to Burn it Smart

Step 3

Small logs

During mild weather, use several smaller pieces of wood and fewer large pieces. A small load, with a loose crisscross configuration, produces less smoke and can provide a cozy room without overheating it.

Steps to Burn it Smart

Step 4

Chimney check

Monitor the fire and check for incomplete combustion such as blackened stove glass, lay flames or chimney smoke. Put on a warm coat to go outside and check your chimney. If you are doing it right, your fire should no longer be smoking at all.

Steps to Burn it Smart

Step 4

Chimney check

Wait until stove top temperature reaches 204-232°C (400F- 450°F) before adjusting air controls.

Steps to Burn it Smart

Step 5

Big logs

Add on a couple of big logs. Get these bricking; this will take about an hour. Reload with another couple of big logs.

After 15 minutes you can turn the airflow down. The firebox will now be very hot with a deep bed of wood residues/ashes.

Steps to Burn it Smart

Step 6

Reloading

Remove ash, rake live coals to the front and place wood on or behind the coals. Burn in cycles. A cycle starts when wood is placed on and behind a raked coal bed. A cycle ends when the load is reduced to the same sized coal bed. Let the space cool a little before loading.

Steps to Burn it Smart

Step 6

Reloading

Every time you reload and before going to bed, make sure you turn the airflow to high for 15 minutes before turning it down again.

Opening the vent increases air supply, which increases how fast the fire burns through the wood and the total heat output.

Burn small hot fires. Overloading your stove causes more smoke. If the fire has died down, you may need to go back to Step 3.

Steps to Burn it Smart

Step 7

Time to relax

Now that your fire is smoke-free, you can relax and enjoy a nice warm fire. Following these steps will limit the smoke you create and help improve the air in your community.

Still Having Smoke Problems?

If you have followed all the steps and you are still getting a bit of smoke, there’s plenty of help available.

If available, refer to your owner’s manual for start-up guidelines. Most manuals can be found online.

Guide to Residential Wood Heating Wood Stove Troubleshooting Guide

Still Having Smoke Problems?

If you have followed all the steps and you are still getting a bit of smoke, there’s plenty of help available.

Contact your local government to get a permit to install a wood burning appliance.

Have your stove and chimney professionally inspected and serviced yearly, if possible.

Find a certified technician

Finding a New Appliance

Natural gas is a much cleaner way to heat a home. But if you must use wood, buy the cleanest model possible that fits your budget.

Only emissions certified wood appliances, EPA or CAN-CSA B415.1, are permitted to be installed in the Central Okanagan. Contact your local government to get a permit to install a wood burning appliance.

Find an EPA certified appliance:

Certified Room Heaters for wood stoves and pellet stoves

Certified Central Heaters for forced-air furnaces and hydronic heaters (also known as outdoor wood boilers).

Finding a New Appliance

Natural gas is a much cleaner way to heat a home. But if you must use wood, buy the cleanest model possible that fits your budget.

Current EPA emission limits is 2.0g/h

For videos, rebates and more tips visit:

rdco.com/airquality

Finding a New Appliance

Natural gas is a much cleaner way to heat a home. But if you must use wood, buy the cleanest model possible that fits your budget.

This Wood Burning Best Practices tool and information was made possible with the financial support of: