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Burn the Right Fuel  



Using the right fuel helps you build a hot fire that will burn efficiently and keep your family warm and safe. Here are some tips to help you start and maintain effective fires.

Burn only dry, split firewood. If you choose to burn coal, burn only clean, higher quality coal. Higher quality coal burns more efficiently and doesn't leave as much residue in your stove or chimney. Anthracite coal or a mixture of anthracite can burn cleaner and hotter with lower moisture content and ash.

Split and stack firewood outdoor for at least 6 months before burning. Properly seasoned wood is darker, has cracks in the end grin and sounds hollow when smacked against another piece of wood. Wood burns best when the moisture content is less than 20 percent. You can purchase a meter for about $20 to test the moisture content of your wood before you burn it.

Store wood outdoors, stacked neatly off the ground with the top covered. Make sure the sides of  the wood pile are open to allow air to circulate. Building your own woodshed is an expensive way to properly dry firewood.

Start fires with only newspaper or dry kindling.

DO NOT burn any of the following because they can release smoke containing harmful chemicals and, in some cases, might damage your stove.


Prohibited Materials: Household Garbage, Plastics, Cardboard, Foam, Leaves and Yard Debris, Plywood, Particleboard, Magazines and Papers in colored Ink, Coated, Painted or Pressure-treated Wood, Wet, Rotted, Diseased or Moldy Wood, Tires, Lighter Fluid and other Combustible Liquids.


Full garbage bin Pile of plastic trash   Ripped cardboard box   Chunks of white foam   Pile of leaves   Stacked plywood   Close-up of particle board  Colored letters cut from magazines   Close-up of wood wainscoting painted blue  Pile of rotten wood 
 Pile of used tires   Gasoline can


Tips for Cleaner Stoves and Healthier Homes 

Fire is sacred to Navajo culture and should be treated with respect inside our homes. Many of us build fires in wood- and coal-burning stoves to keep our families warm during the colder months. Whether you heat with wood or coal, taking steps to build and maintain safe fires can minimize smoke indoors and out, help protect your family’s health and safety—and ultimately create a warmer home.

 Follow these four tips for a cleaner burning stove and healthier home.

1. Clean and Repair Your Stove and Chimney

2. Burn the Right Fuel

3. Ensure Proper Ventilation

4. Use Smoke Detectors and Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Fire burning in stove   Chimney pipe   Man installing smoke detector   

Split and stacked firewood


Maintaining your stove and chimney is critical to heating your home safely and minimizing the release of harmful smoke into your living spaces. It can also help keep your home warmer.

Remember to:

*Clean and inspect your stove and chimney before the heating season begins so your system will be in top working order before winter.

*Check for gaps around the stove door that could be an indication of a broken seal. A broken seal can allow smoke into your home and too much air into the stove. Too much air in the stove reduces the fuel’s heat output.

*Repair any cracks or gaps in your chimney to ensure safe venting of smoke to the outside.

*Remove ashes from your wood-burning appliance regularly and place them in a metal container with a cover. Store the container of ashes outdoors away from your home and any vegetation. Place the container on sandy ground or on a cement or brick slab (never on a wooden deck or near wood).

Need a new wood stove? Choose an appliance certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. EPA-certified stoves adhere to strict emission requirements, so they burn more efficiently, use less firewood and release little smoke if properly installed and operated.

Quick Check!!!


Smell smoke in your home?

Notice smoke coming from the chimney?

See more dust around the house when you use the stove?

Experience watery eyes and a stuffy nose when you use your wood or coal stove?

Have to constantly feed the stove with wood?

If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, confirm that you are using the right fuel and that your stove and chimney have proper ventilation. If you are considering replacing your old stove, choose an EPA-certified pellet or wood stove, or a cleaner home heating appliance (such as natural gas, propane or electricity).