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Attention Heating: The 10 Woods To Absolutely Avoid In Your Fireplace!


In an emergency, we are sometimes tempted to use the first wood that comes to hand to heat ourselves. However, this can cause damage to equipment and also to our health! Follow the guide.


Why can’t I use all types of wood to heat myself?

For financial reasons (or lack of information), we may be led to use the first wood that comes to hand to heat ourselves. Or to choose a type of tree because it grows abundantly in the region where we live.

But this is a mistake, because not all wood is suitable for burning.


Some will be uneconomical, burn too quickly, or clog the chimney. Others will prove toxic, both for the environment and for your health.

Do not make the mistake and remember the list of 10 woods to never (or almost never) put in your stove or fireplace.

  • Which types of trees to choose for wood heating?
  • The associated risks of improper wood storage

Woods to avoid for heating

  • 1. Softwoods Fir, larch, and spruce are not recommended in your chimneys: they burn well but too quickly and release tar that will clog your flues.
  • 2. Soft hardwoods Lime, alder, birch, and poplar produce beautiful flames, but their combustion is also very fast and produces little heat. They are not economical.
  • 3. Some hard hardwoods While hard hardwoods have the best efficiency due to slow combustion, oak takes the longest to dry. However, damp wood loses its calorific power.
  • 4. Green woods and damp woods Green wood has a high moisture content. This gives it a low calorific value (half that of dry wood). They also emit smoke that pollutes the atmosphere, just like wood stored in a damp place.
  • 5. Toxic species Oleander, figured teak, and green carob are known to be toxic woods. They should be avoided in the fireplace.
  • 6. Driftwood Driftwood is decorative but it has no place in a fireplace. When burned, driftwood releases salt and becomes corrosive to your flues. Its fumes are also harmful to health.
  • 7. Painted woods Paints contain chemicals that emit toxic gases when burned. Never burn painted wood.
  • 8. Treated woods When burned, wood treated with pesticides or preservatives emits toxic fumes that are harmful to health.
  • 9. Engineered wood When consumed, it also emits toxic and even carcinogenic fumes.
  • 9. Woods with mold Some molds can release pollutants when burned. If you use wood found on the forest floor, make sure it is not moldy, or alternatively, dry it.

If in doubt, consult a professional dealer. They know the new regulations and best practices to adopt for wood heating!

  • New obligations for firewood sellers
  • Recognizing high-quality firewood
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