You've probably never thought too much about what type of firewood you've been putting into your wood stove, but did you know that there are certain types of scrap wood that should not be burned in your home? Here are some types of wood that are better used for other purposes.
Driftwood may seem like the perfect fuel for your fire. It's light, dry, and creates beautiful flames because of the salt content. But it's that salt content that makes burning the driftwood so dangerous. Salt contains chlorides. When these are burned, a harmful bi-product called dioxin is formed. Dioxin is a carcinogen, and it cannot be processed by the body, so it builds up and stores in fatty tissues. Bioaccumulation is harmful to the environment as well, because once animals or humans accumulate the toxin, it decomposes with the body after death, leaching into the soil to poison other animals.
Pressure Treated Lumber
Some older treated lumber was treated against rot and insect penetration with combination of copper, chromium, and arsenic. The arsenic would be released into the air, increasing environmental toxins, but a greater portion would remain in the ashes, even more concentrated than before. Throwing these ashes away would contaminate water sources and threaten the lives of other wildlife. Modern pressure treated lumber no longer contain arsenic, but they still undergo extensive chemical treatment and these can still pollute the environment when burned.
Old Hardwood Flooring or Reclaimed Wood
Old wood may seem like perfect candidate for your fireplace. Old wood is usually hard, which means it burns hot and long. However, old hardwood floors and other old wood can be dangerous to burn because they have been treated with many different substances. Hardwood floors, for example, may have been soaked in linseed oil or polyurethane. Some milled lumber used to build homes may have been soaked in polyethylene glycol to accelerate drying for building.
Pallet wood is dry and burns easily, but there is no control standard for it. In the construction and industrial world, pallets travel far, carrying everything from bricks to corrosive barrels of chemicals. Pallets bear the brunt of industry accidents. you can't know if they haven't been spilled on, painted over, or made from wood that is unsuitable for burning, such as poison oak. It's best to pass on your pallets instead of using them for any sort of fuel.
For more information on firewood, contact a local landscaping company such as Ryan's Nature Solutions.