Wintertime is coming soon and for those of you lucky enough to own a fireplace or wood stove, it means the crackling warmth of a wood fire. So, if you have ash juniper or cedar (not to be confused with red cedar from the Northwest U.S.) should you burn cedar in the fireplace or wood stove?
Burning cedar in the fireplace is OK as long as you clean your chimney once a season or more if you burn a lot of it. The problem with cedar is that like pine it contains a lot of resin. This applies to burning red cedar in the fireplace as well, since it is also a resinous wood. Another is that it is a dense wood full of pockets of oily resin that heat up and then cause the wood to pop and possibly eject burning embers onto the floor, causing burns or a fire.
Below is a photo of ashe juniper or what many in the desert Southwest refer to as “cedar”.
How To Burn Cedar In The Fireplace Or Wood Stove
If you do burn cedar in your fireplace, do it sparingly and along with other hardwoods that are low in resin such as oak, pecan, etc. Make sure you use a fireplace screen to keep embers from popping out when burning cedar in your fireplace. When burning cedar in your woodstove, make sure that you do not overheat the stove since it is a very hot burning wood. You don’t want to damage your wood stove, especially ceramic coated stoves from a super hot burning cedar fire.
If You Do Burn Cedar In Your Wood Stove Or Fireplace, Clean Your Chimney Or Flue Regularly
Also, locate a chimney sweep in your area. Some people clean their own chimneys and wood stove flues. This is only recommended if you are experienced. Cleaning your own chimney may not be sufficient to satisfy your homeowner’s insurance, which may have a clause about regular chimney maintenance records to keep your fire policy in effect. If you choose to clean your own wood stove flue or fireplace, you can find kits for sale on sites like eBay and Amazon.com Burning cedar in the fireplace or wood stove is done by many people each year, just try to keep it to a minimum of a few logs mixed in with other wood.
Note: You should never, ever burn “salt cedar”, which is another kind of tree that grows along rivers in the southwest, in your fireplace. Salt that is accumulated in the wood will cause your flue or fireplace insert to rust.