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Can You Burn Cedar In A Fireplace?

By Lawrence Macmillan May 19, 2022

Whilst cedar might at first appear like a good wood to use in a fireplace, there are better alternatives. The reason cedar isn't a good wood to use in a fireplace is because it has a high oil content and will burn too hot.

That's why it is a better choice to use outside where a more explosive heat wouldn't be of concern. The last thing you will want is a disaster or damage to happen inside your home.

Can You Burn Cedar In A Fireplace

With this in mind, let's take a look in more detail at why cedar is a wood you should avoid when it comes to your fireplace, and what the alternatives are.

So, let's get to it!

Why Should Cedar Not Be Used In A Fireplace?

Cedar burns very quickly, which makes it an excellent choice for outdoor fireplaces. However, if you have a fireplace that is meant to be used indoors, then using cedar can cause problems.

The problem with using cedar as a material for indoor fireplaces is that it burns so fast that it could potentially start a fire within your house. This is especially true if you have a chimney that doesn't allow enough air flow through it.

The other issue is that cedar is extremely flammable. It contains a lot of volatile oils, which means that it can easily catch fire.

This is something that needs to be taken into consideration before you decide on whether, or not, to use cedar in your fireplace. If you do choose to use cedar, make sure that you don't leave any kindling lying around.

If you do, then you run the risk of setting off a fire. This would mean that you'd need to evacuate your home until the fire was out.

Also, because the cedar will start a fire so quickly, there may be sparks of fire spitting around which could easily start a different fire, or catch a person and burn them. 

Are There Any Advantages to Using Cedar to Burn in a Fireplace?

There are some advantages to using cedar as a fuel source for your fireplace. For one, it produces quite a bit of smoke, which gives your room a nice aroma – though, this might be a bit too much for some people.

It also creates a really nice flame, which looks great in a fireplace. It does however, produce a lot of ash, which can be a nuisance.

You'll find that it takes a long time to burn down completely as well. This means that you'll need to keep topping up the fire regularly. Also, it can be difficult to extinguish once it starts burning.

Whilst these might be advantageous to some, for many, cedar is a dangerous wood to use. This is especially true if you are new to using a real fireplace, or have children and pets. 

So, You Can Still Use Cedar Wood in a Fireplace?

Despite the majority of people passing on using cedar wood, you can still use it so long as you take care. Here are some tips:

  • Make sure you're using dry cedar logs.
  • Keep your fireplace clean and free from debris.
  • Never use cedar wood in a fireplace that hasn't been cleaned thoroughly.
  • Don't use cedar wood near anything that has a high heat content like a stove or hot water tank.
  • Make sure that the fireplace is kept away from combustible materials such as curtains, rugs, furniture etc.
  • Always use a screen over the top of the fireplace when using cedar wood.
  • When using cedar wood, always ensure that you follow all safety guidelines.

What Are Some Other Options For Your Fireplace?

If you're looking for a wood that won't set off a fire, but still gives off a nice smokey scent, then you may want to consider pine. Pine is a great alternative to cedar.

It is also a safe option to use in your fireplace, as it is non-flammable (as in it won't cause a big rush of flames and become uncontrollable indoors), and does not contain any toxic chemicals.

Pine is also a great wood to use if you want to create a smoky smell in your room. It creates a really nice aroma, without causing any harm to your health.

Another great option is oak. Oak is another great wood to use in your fireplace. It is a naturally occurring tree, and therefore, it is completely safe to use.

Oak is also one of the most popular woods used in furniture making. It is strong, durable, and easy to work with.

There are many other options available for you to use in your fireplace that aren't just limited to these three, but they are all safe choices to use, and will give you the same benefits as the ones mentioned above.

How Can I Use These Woods Safely In My Fireplace?

As we've seen, some woods are safer than others when it comes to being used in a fireplace. But how do you know which ones are safe to use?

Well, first, you'll need to check the safety information on the packaging. You'll see a list of the materials that the wood is made from, along with their toxicity levels. The higher up the number, the less dangerous the wood is.

For example, a wood that has a rating of 1 is considered to be the safest. A rating of 5 is the least safe.

Next, you'll need to look at the moisture content of the wood. Moisture content refers to how much water is present in the wood. If the wood is too moist, then it's likely to crack and split.

You should avoid using any wood that has a moisture content greater than 10%.

Final Thoughts

Cedar wood is a popular choice when it comes to starting a fire, but can it be safely used in an at-home fireplace?

Whilst it can, most people pass up on using it due to its quick and high flammable state. This can be off putting for the fireplace novice, but that doesn't mean cedar wood shouldn't be used.

However, it does need to be cared for properly, otherwise it will be best used outside rather than in the home


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