About Me

Planning and Executing Construction and Contracting Projects: Tips for Consumers

Welcome to my blog. My name is Deborah. About 15 years ago, I bought an old home. We worked with several contractors to rehabilitate it, but ultimately, the foundation simply wasn't stable enough, and we had to tear it down. After that, we worked with a construction crew to build a home from the ground up. The experience was exciting and challenging, and I learned a lot through that process. I want to share construction and contracting facts and information with others so I decided to start this blog. I hope that you like the results, and I thank you for reading. Enjoy!

Planning and Executing Construction and Contracting Projects: Tips for Consumers

Do Old Wooden Pallets Make Good Firewood?

by Samantha Russell

Wooden pallets are designed for longevity, and yet there comes a day when they can no longer be used for their intended purpose. Some of them are recycled or made into furniture, and others end up in landfill. You might be tempted to use any old wooden pallets you have at home as firewood during the winter months. You might also find a number of pallets on sale and buy them with a view to using them as firewood. But is this a good idea? Should you actually burn wooden pallets?

Clean and Dry Wood

The allure of using wooden pallets as firewood is quite logical. The wood is generally extremely clean and dry, and the pallets can easily be broken up into appropriately sized pieces of kindling. You can do this yourself with a hammer or small axe (although you should wear gloves to avoid any nasty splinters). Smaller wooden boxes can sometimes even be broken up with your hands. But not all pallets are suitable for firewood, and it really depends on what they were used to transport.

Beware of Methyl Bromide

Before breaking up the pallet, you need to examine it carefully. Look to see if the wood has been stamped with the words "methyl bromide" (which is sometimes abbreviated as MB). If you see these words or letters, then the wood is not safe to burn. Methyl bromide is a fumigant that is widely used to treat pallets transporting organic goods into Australia. It acts as a pesticide, but any methyl bromide remaining in the wood will release a toxic gas when burned. For this reason it cannot be used as firewood. Such pallets will need to be kept intact and will need to be appropriately disposed of. Contact your local council's recycling centre if you have any queries.

Nails in the Wood

If the wood is safe to burn, you can do so with any nails that might remain in place. It can be rather difficult to remove all the nails, and the nails will not affect the quality of the fire. But be careful when removing the ash from your fireplace. If you compost your ash or spread it directly onto your garden, you will need to remove any nails at this stage. You can simply sieve the ash using an old colander. You certainly don't want to have an old nail lurking in your garden. The nails can be disposed of with your regular household rubbish.

So once you're sure that the wood has not been treated with methyl bromide, you will find that old wooden pallets make excellent firewood.