Not all firewood is built equal. When choosing the type of firewood for your fireplace, homeowners have two main choices: softwood and hardwood. Softwood generates heat quickly, but hardwood burns hotter. At the end of the day, it comes down to the type of fire you’re looking for. However, there is some wood that we advise all homeowners to stay away from. 

Driftwood

Because driftwood spends most of its life in salty ocean water, it picks up a lot of sodium chloride along the way. When it is burned, the combination of fire and salt causes significant amounts of dioxins to be released. Dioxins are carcinogenic toxins that are released when burning all types of wood. However, the main difference between other wood and driftwood lies in the amount of dioxins that are released. 

Christmas Tree

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could easily dispose of your Christmas tree by tossing it in the fireplace? While there’s nothing wrong with burning the actual wood itself, the needles and fresh sap could cause a fire hazard. Sap from fresh wood is extremely flammable and could cause a sudden chimney fire, as well as fill your flue with significant amounts of creosote. 

Poisonous Wood

If anything has the word poisonous in it, you should probably stay away. Poisonous wood, like Poison Ivy, Poison Oak, etc., release urushiol into the smoke. Urushiol is an irritant oil that can be dangerous, especially to those who are allergic. 

Painted Wood

The paint or stain that is used on wood is filled with chemicals that make colors bold and durable. When burning painted wood, the chemicals from the paint are released into the smoke and extremely dangerous to breathe in. If you have a lot of stained wood lying around, think twice about how to dispose of it safely. 

Endangered Wood

Just like endangered animals shouldn’t be hunted down for sport, endangered wood shouldn’t be burned for fun. To avoid losing such beautiful additions of nature, we ask that homeowners find alternative options if they are considering burning the following wood:

  • Mahogany
  • Rosewood
  • Spanish Cedar
  • Red Sandalwood
  • Red Stinkwood
  • Ajo
  • Brazilwood
  • Verawood
  • Almendro
  • Cocobolo

Oleander

Oleander trees create some of the most beautiful flowers and some of the deadliest fires. Oleander wood holds a poisonous chemical that is released when burned and affects most people. This wood shouldn’t be burned in a fireplace or stove, as the toxins can leech into food from the smoke. 

What Kind of Fire Are You Looking For?

Rettinger Fireplace Systems is a trusted brand for all things fireplace, including direct vent gas fireplace installation, accessories, and custom cabinetry, in South Jersey. If you have any questions regarding your fireplace, contact a Rettinger representative at 833-GET-RETT for a customized solution.