1. Is it safe to burn painted wood in your fireplace or stove?
Answer: That is a very bad idea!
Burning treated lumber, petroleum products, painted wood, trash, and such, releases toxic chemicals into the atmosphere (including your home!), and could cause other damage, as well.
For example, a catalytic combustor in a wood stove can be destroyed by certain chemical agents found in these items.
Fireplaces and stoves aren't designed as incinerators, and it is neither safe nor environmentally sound to use them as such.
Stick with seasoned dried firewood for your heating needs. This way you will be protecting your health, and your neighbor’s health as well.
2. Should I burn wood with termites in it?
Answer: I wouldn't choose it over nice dry clean wood.
Wood with termites in it is more likely to be either rotten or moist, having been outside for long enough to attract the critters.
As such, it will not be a good source of heat and will likely not burn well.
In addition, if you are storing termite riddled wood near your house (and I assume you do keep your firewood within easy reach of your fireplace or woodstove...) you are running the risk of introducing them to your house itself.... need I say more?
3. Can I burn particle board in my catalytic stove?
Answer: Not a good idea!
Particle board and press board have bonding agents that can poison the catalytic combustor over a period of time and cut back on the combustor's efficiency.
4. Can I use fire starters to get my fire going?
Answer: I can only speak for the combustor in a catalytic appliance. Remember this, the by-pass is in the open position for 20 to 30 minutes when initially building a fire in the firebox. This means nothing is going to the combustor but heat to light it off. When it's time to close the by-pass the fire starter should be completely used up and nothing harmful will be directed to or through the combustor. Check with the stove's manufacturer to be on the safe side.