Wood Fireplace FAQ with a wood burning fireplace at night with a dog in a three seasons room warm and cozy

For homeowners who prefer a more traditional atmosphere or those who are looking for substantial heat from their hearth, a wood-burning fireplace is almost certainly the way to go. Whether you've got a masonry wood fireplace in your home already or you're looking to purchase a new wood fireplace, you may have some questions about how to get the most out of your hearth. Here at Fireplaces Direct, we carry the best home hearth brands, which include high-quality wood fireplaces and wood-burning stoves.
To help you make the decision to buy a wood fireplace or assist in making use of your existing one, we've collected some common questions about wood-burning fireplaces here, along with helpful answers. If you've got a question we haven't answered here, our product specialists will be happy to provide their expertise and guidance. You can reach out to them via phone, chat or email for assistance.

Most Frequently Asked Questions

How long can you burn in a wood fireplace?

A wood fireplace can theoretically burn forever, as long as you've got enough firewood to sustain it and continue to add fuel over time. That said, the fireplace will need to be cleaned from time to time, which obviously can't be done while it's in use. Most fireplace models will list an estimated maximum burn time. This reflects how long a fire will continue to burn in the fireplace when it is started with a full load of firewood and left to its own devices. Generally, this number will be between 6 and 10 hours. Some of the most efficient designs are wood fireplace stoves.

Are wood fireplaces dangerous?

No more dangerous than any other fire appliance, which is to say that if all relevant safety requirements and recommendations are followed, they are perfectly safe. For wood fireplaces, this means keeping the hearth and chimney clean, only burning approved firewood types (nothing chemically treated), not building a fire too large, keeping children and pets away from the flames, following the manufacturer's installation recommendations and using a screen to contain ashes and cinders. As always, we recommend thoroughly reading the owner's manual for any fireplace you're buying.

Can a wood fireplace burn overnight?

Yes, as long as the fireplace isn't overloaded and it has either a glass door to contain ash and cinders or a fireplace screen in place to do the same. Be sure to check any local regulations on this point before doing so, particularly if you live in a place with a dry climate as some state and local governments restrict solid fuel burning, especially if the fire is unattended.

Are wood-burning fireplaces worth it?

We certainly think so, but there are some things to consider when purchasing one to be sure it suits your particular needs. Wood fireplaces do tend to be cheaper than similar gas fireplaces, but the tradeoff is that they can be more work, both to use and maintain. Building a log fire from scratch every time you want to use the fireplace takes some time and skill, and keeping your home stocked with firewood is another thing to consider.

Are wood-burning fireplaces energy efficient?

The efficiency of wood fireplaces will vary by model, with some types being more efficient than others. As mentioned above, wood-burning stoves tend to be the most efficient style. Some stoves may carry a certification from the Environmental Protection Agency, which means they produce no more than two grams of smoke per hour, reflecting the efficiency with which they burn off the wood fuel.

Do I need to have my wood chimney cleaned?

Yes, cleaning the firebox and chimney is very important with wood fireplaces. The soot and ash they create will collect on the interior surfaces of the system. Over time, this can lead to the buildup of a compound known as creosote. Creosote is the cause of the majority of chimney fires when it isn't cleaned out on a regular basis. We recommend cleaning your chimney or having it professionally cleaned at least once a year. You can find creosote removal spray and scrubbing tools to help manage buildup in your chimney.

Ready to start your wood fireplace shopping journey?