Homeowners with wood-burning fireplaces, especially if they use them to heat their homes in the winter, may sometimes wonder about the different types of wood or wood products they can burn in them. Different types of wood burn better, hotter and cleaner than others. Pine cones may be plentiful and something that people may be considering to burn.
The answer to the question is yes, you can burn pine cones in your fireplace or wood stove. Pine cones are especially good for kindling when you are trying to start a fire. You may notice that pine cones smoke a little bit more than twigs or other small kindling, but then they will flare up and help ignite the larger pieces of wood in the fireplace.
Make your own homemade fire starters out of pine cones. This is a good way to use up pine cones if you have plenty of them around your yard. Gather up the pine cones as they fall and then dip them in melted wax. The wax will make the pine cones burn longer, which works well when you have wood that may not be so quick to start or is not quite dry enough to catch quickly. Purchase wax at your local craft store or save up any bits of wax that are left over from burning candles. If you burn a lot of scented candles and use that leftover wax to coat your pine cones, this will give your fire a pleasant smell.
One of the issues that many people are concerned about with home fireplaces is creosote. Creosote is a built up of residue formed from burning softer woods, such as pine. However, pine cones do not give off as much creosote as pine wood does. You should have a professional chimney sweep come in and clean your fireplace every year, before you use it, just to be on the safe side.
To start a fire using pine cones as tinder, place a couple of smaller pieces of wood kindling on the grate then top them with one or two pine cones. Light the pine cones. Gradually add a few more pieces of the smaller wood on top of the pine cones without putting out the fire. When the kindling is burning well, add larger pieces of wood.
Ruth O'Neil has been a freelance writer for almost 20 years. She has published hundreds of articles and stories in dozens of publications including "Parentlife," "CBA Retailers and Resources," "Lookout" and "Standard." She has also worked with a publishing company editing and preparing manuscripts for publication.