Choose dry, long-burning hardwoods
Hardwoods like Namibian Kameeldoring and Sekeldoring grow slowly in dry climates – this means that these types of wood are dense and have very low moisture content especially after the tree has died. Because these hardwoods are so dense, they create fires which take a long time to burn through and are therefore able to reach very high temperatures.Namibian Hardwoods are well-suited for burning inside as their low moisture content limit the amount of smoke produced all while being rather low maintenance as you don’t have to constantly add logs to keep the fire going. Because Namibian Hardwoods are so dense they leave heaps of red hot coals after the wood has burnt out. These coals are very welcome in the cold winter months as it releases lots residual heat and keeps your fireplace and house nice and warm.It is important to note that because hardwoods can reach very high temperatures it is crucial that your indoor fireplace is professionally installed, insulated, and regularly cleaned to ensure a safe fire inside.
Choose well-seasoned Bluegum wood
The best local alien wood we recommend you using indoors is well seasoned Bluegum. Bluegum burns long, produces a great flame, heat and is very popular to use in a Closed Combustion Fireplace. Smoke is to be avoided at all costs and that’s why it’s important to burn well-seasoned / dry wood indoors.
Wood which is still ‘green’ is often freshly cut and has not been given enough time to dry out. This wood can feel wet to the touch and is likely to produce a lot of smoke when ignited. Wood, depending on the species, can take many months (for instance, a season – hence the phrase) and even years to adequately dry out. Well-seasoned wood can appears faded, grey and dusty and will produce a hollowish sound when two logs are tapped together.
Why we don’t recommend burning only Softer woods
As trees, softwoods retain more moisture than hardwoods – this decreases their density – meaning they can ignite faster, but burn out more quickly than hardwoods. If well seasoned, softwoods can be used for indoor fireplaces, but will burn out much quicker than Namibian Hardwoods or Bluegum. Burning softwoods inside can be hazardous. Softwoods hold pockets of sap and resin within their grain which are great for kindling purposes as they are highly flammable, but are unsafe indoors as they can create fires which spit and sizzle.
Softwoods, when burnt, the moisture held within the wood makes more smoke which is not only damaging to your chimney over time, but can lead to a build up of creosote. Creosote is a type of wood tar which accumulates in fireplaces when smoke is condensed. This black residue is highly flammable and when burned releases gases which are toxic to humans. Creosote is dangerous and should be regularly removed from your fireplace by scrubbing with steel wool and should never be burned off.
Types of wood to avoid in your fireplace
- Rooikrans – although this can be burned inside, it is not recommended as its high moisture content is likely to produce very smokey fires. This is better suited to smoking meat instead not for indoor fireplaces.
- Driftwoods – although it may seem appealing for a beachside fire, driftwood is highly saturated with salt and chlorine which can give off toxic fumes when ignited.
- Poisonous plants – some types of Oak and Ivy are poisonous and can cause painful rashes if touched. The chemicals which make these plants dangerous to touch produce noxious smoke when heated.
- Wood scraps from unknown origins – waste wood from construction projects may have previously been treated with chemicals which may be harmful to burn in your home.
Tips before winter
- We recommend Namibian Hardwoods and Bluegum to use in your indoor fireplace and combustion fireplaces.
- Remember to store your wood in dry areas (preferably off the ground to avoid moisture absorption) which should be protected from rain.
- Only cover your wood with plastic or a tarp if the wood is completely dry to avoid unwanted condensation and wood rot.
- Make sure to clean your chimney and fireplace before winter starts to avoid creosote buildup which can cause chimney fires.
- Only store as much wood indoors as you intend to use immediately, as a pile of logs may attract unwanted guests (mice, ants, termites,etc).