For those of us that live in colder climates, it is once again time to curl up beside a warm fire. However, if you have concerns about the best items to burn if your fireplace for the sake of the environment, you could be in a conundrum. What can you burn that will offer the proper heat without creating excessive greenhouse gases?
The first consideration is the type of hearth you have in your home. For instance, if you want to burn corn pellets, you need to have a pellet stove, not a regular fireplace. On the other hand, you should not be trying to burn regular logs in a ventless fireplace. If being “green” is your first consideration, a standard fireplace is not the best fit because the bulk of the energy created is lost up the flue.
If you have issues with smoke in general but have a standard wood-burning fireplace, you may want to consider converting the fireplace over to a gas or electric fireplace. Gas burns much cleaner and with electric, there is obviously no burning at all, just a release of heat. However, forget about watching those mesmerizing flames and listening to the crack of the wood burning.
Firelogs are another option for wood-burning fireplaces. When compared to natural wood products, they create less ash as well as burning longer and hotter. They can be more expensive, but they burn much more efficiently. You need to decide if this tradeoff is worth it.
Another consideration for using firelogs in your fireplace is that they are composed of recycled products, such as coffee grounds. However, when using this type of log for your fireplace, choose logs using a bio-wax, not petroleum wax. Petroleum will emit more CO2, or Carbon Dioxide, which could lead to health problems with prolonged exposure.