Wood Burning for over 30 years

by Carl
(Carlisle PA USA)

I light my fires with USED MOTOR OIL and a ball of crumpled newspaper..

I never saw the point of paying for the fire starter blocks or messing with a Sawdust mix and all the mess involved..

Simply place a balled up piece of newspaper part way under the firewood..( The looser it's balled the better for air circulation.)

Splash on an ounce or two of oil PARTLY ON THE NEWSPAPER AND PARTLY ON THE FIREWOOD NEAR THE PAPER and light it with a match..

Hot roaring fire in minutes.. No danger of flareups.. and it puts your dirty motor oil to good use !

Also, anybody that is building a new chimney ( Especially New Construction.)

Please DO NOT PUT YOUR CHIMNEY ON THE OUTSIDE OF THE HOUSE.. IT IS A HUGE WASTE OF ENERGY..and it does not mean your chimney is safer.. In fact just the opposite is true.

An outside(brick)chimney may look impressive, but it is a colossal waste of heat energy. Creosote vapors are in a gaseous form (boiling) above 290 degrees.. In order to keep your chimney safe from creosote buildup you need to maintain almost 300 degrees (Stack temperature)to the very top to avoid creosote forming. The cooler the chimney, the faster the gasses turn to (flammable hydrocarbon) solids. A properly installed properly safeguarded chimney will last most homeowners a lifetime and can be virtually trouble free.


Is possibly 40 or 50 degrees warmer (or more depending on inside and outside temperatures). When you light your fire.

Is a warm chimney and will provide an almost instantaneous draft.. No smoke coming back into your house. HEAT RISES.. It's that simple.. the warmer the chimney..the better the draft.

Will save you FIREWOOD and your energy to cut and split it!
Instead of wasting all of that heat going up the stack, your INSIDE chimney will remain a cleaner SAFER chimney.. without having to lose all of that heat energy that would be LOST on an outside chimney.

Will reduce heat losses to the outside.. any heat that is lost on an INSIDE chimney is being lost INTO THE AREA YOU ARE HEATING IN THE FIRST PLACE.

Is better protected from the temperature extremes and weather / environmental damage. Less chance of cracking and in my case.. Has remained perfectly clean for over 30 years.. ( I check it often with a mirror.. It is always clean if I burn dry firewood..which I do 99% of the time.)


An OUTSIDE chimney:

Is slower / harder to get a draft going.. A cold chimney will puff back due to the upper part of the chimney being cold and the lower part having gases that are hundreds of degrees hotter. The buffering effect will cause some stoves to puff smoke back into the heating area.

Will require frequent cleanings.

Is more prone to cracking from temperature extremes.. ( 20 below outside..several hundred degrees inside..)

Is more prone to chimney fires due to creosote buildup.

Is more likely to lose it's draft when the fire temperatures die off. This can prevent the dangerous gasses building up in your stove from being evacuated. The cooler the chimney, the poorer the draft.. The gasses from the fire are TOXIC AND FLAMMABLE..

Is usually much more risky to clean since it is on the end of a structure..
( An INSIDE chimney through the roof is EASIER to clean by standing more safely on the roof than leaning over the edge or standing on a ladder propped against the building or on the chimney itself.)

Is NOT going to last as long as the INSIDE chimney build out of the EXACT same materials !


My motto is : Use your brain for the hard work.. Not your back !!

Good Luck !


Hi Carl,

Thanks for this great post - sensible advice about internal chimneys. My parents place has a large internal brick chimney that warms the floor above slightly when the fire is lit. It passes through the spare bedroom and goes some way to taking the chill off the air!

All the best,


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