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What Not to Burn in Your Heat Stove

Things You Should Avoid Burning in Your Fireplace or Heat Stove


Salvaged firewood or other scraps can save you a lot of money when it comes to heating your home with wood. But there are certain wood products and other items that you should avoid for health and safety reasons.

Many of these will produce hazardous fumes indoors, as well as chimney emissions that would be an environmental concern. Some also pose additional risks to your stove metals or can create a hazardous build-up of creosote in your chimney. Additional information is also noted.
  • Painted or varnished wood, trim or other wood by-products
  • Pressure-treated lumber - due to the treatment compounds
  • Driftwood - salt water driftwood contains some amount of salt which is corrosive. When heated, corrosion is accelerated and toxic fumes are produced. Fresh water driftwood may contain silt and gravel.
  • All engineered sheet goods because of the glue compounds used in the layering process, including but not limited to:
    • Plywood
    • Particle board
    • Press board
    • Orientated Strand Board (OSB)
    • Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF)
    • Green wood - wood that is not dry will not produce any heat, you'll be just trying to dry it in your stove. It will produce a lot of smoke and creosote.
  • Household trash - which could produce a variety of toxic emissions
  • Styrofoam containers such as disposable cups, plates or food packaging.
  • Egg cartons
  • Glossy or colored papers (magazine pages, product packaging)
  • Any plastics or wrap products
  • Hard Board or other compressed paper products
  • Gypsum board (sheet rock, gyproc)
  • Disposable diapers
Use care and common sense when it comes to feeding your wood heat stove. You do need some paper to start your stove, but use only enough to get the fire going. Excessive use of starter paper will just add to the creosote build-up.

Safety of course is a major concern when operating any wood-burning appliance. Comply with all recommended clearances and protect flooring with a fire-resistant floor pad. Make sure you have an active carbon monoxide alarm in the area and that your home is equipped with working smoke alarms.

Read More About Heating With Wood:

Heating With Wood
Buying a Wood Heat Stove
Home Safety & Smoke Alarms
Wood Heat Stove vs Pellet Stove
Definition of Clinker
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