51028thumbThere are fewer fireplaces after every significant earthquake. Removal of a damaged chimney is probably more practical than repair, particularly if the fireplace does not get much use anyway. Wood stoves sometimes get removed simply because they are in the way. Modern building codes forbid their return once they are gone, and also forbid them in new construction.

The few surviving fireplaces and wood stoves do not get used as regularly as they used to. It seems that no one is around the home long enough to tend to a fire. Orchards that provided so much affordable firewood as they were being removed for urban development are gone now. The outskirts of town, where trees and woodlots might be found, are now more than a short drive away.

Firewood can still be purchased from tree service businesses that must dispose of the wood that their work generates. Because such firewood is a byproduct of urban forestry, it is an unpredictable mix of all sorts of urban trees, and must be procured early in the year to be seasoned by autumn and winter. It is now much too late to purchase green firewood for this winter.

Almost all types of urban firewood are comparable to more traditional types. A few types deposit more residue in chimneys, so that chimneys need to be cleaned more frequently. Firewood from woodlots can be surprisingly more expensive; but it burns cleaner, and is already seasoned. Many woodlots would be pleased to deliver firewood that is ready to burn now.

Firewood is perishable, so only slightly more than enough for one year should be procured annually. Any leftovers can rot if left out in the weather too long. Firewood last longer in a shed or garage, but takes up too much space, and can be attractive to rodents.

Synthetic logs from the supermarket happen to be more efficient than real wood, and do not need to be seasoned. A single log burns longer and cleaner than a few real logs, and produces as much heat. However, they are individually very expensive, and are just not the same as real firewood.


10 thoughts on “Fireplaces Are A Rare Luxury

    1. Doesn’t it get colder there than it does here?
      When working for other arborists, it seems odd to me that most clients pay extra to get wood debris hauled away. Such a waste!


      1. Well, that would be colder. It does not snow here at all. We got a bit in 1976, but none since then (In the Santa Clara Valley). It has been below freezing a few times this year, but that is not normal.


  1. We removed so many trees that had been badly placed on the property that we have wood stacked up for a few more years worth of fires. We use it when we can and I have come up with fire starter “bombs”, which are a great way to get fires going quickly and hot (it’s on my blog). We plan to get an insert which would allow us to burn even more efficiently and cleanly. I figure with all the trees we replaced the others with that there will be a supply to last us a while from trimmings and broken branches!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My house is very small. I’m glad the fireplace was removed before we bought it, otherwise I’d be missing the longest wall in the living room. I can’t imagine who cramped it would be then. The neighbor tells me all the fireplaces in the neighborhood are pulling away from the houses, and when mine was removed it was full of bats! This is Southern Oregon.
    When I lived in Concord, CA, our fireplace had cracks I discovered when watering pots outside (on it’s ledges) and water ran down inside! I didn’t feel safe using it after that. Fortunately, it was a rental and not my problem!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, ‘that’! I know I am supposed to write all the pretty and flowery information about my topics, but ‘I’ believe that those who are interested in particular specie should know the bad qualities as well.


    1. Goodness! For me, a fireplace is a major selling point in a house, just because of the building codes here. Fireplaces can not be built into homes that lack them!


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