Selecting First Class Firewood
Winter is just around the corner, so now is the perfect time to stock up on firewood for the burning season. Selecting the right firewood will help your wood burning fireplace or stove burn cleaner & more efficiently, prevent odor issues, and even slow down creosote buildup which is a leading cause of chimney fires. While you may be tempted to buy the most inexpensive bundle of wood to fuel your fire, choosing the best firewood can actually save you money! Quality, well-seasoned wood goes a long way with heat efficiency and cutting your heating bills, so here are a few tips on how to buy and store first class firewood.
Choose Seasoned Wood
All firewood contains water, but freshly cut firewood that has not been left to dry properly can contain up to 45% water. This “green wood” is hard to burn and won’t burn as hot as seasoned, dry wood. Because much of the heat produced by the fire has to be used to “dry out” the green wood, fueling a fire with this type of wood is actually very inefficient. Less heat will be produced to warm your home which means you’ll need to spend more money on your heating bill. On the other hand, seasoned firewood only contains about 20% to 25% moisture content and is easier to start. It also burns cleaner to reduce sticky creosote buildup in the chimney system.
Trees are composed of bundles of microscopic tubes that carry water from the roots of the trees up to the branches and leaves. These channels can actually stay full of water for years, even after the tree has died. Once the tree is cut into firewood, it should be given 6 months to a year to dry out. If properly stored, firewood will be dried out naturally by sun and wind. Splitting the wood in half also helps expose more surface area which can shorten drying time.
Spotting seasoned firewood is simple once you know what to look for. Dry firewood typically has dark, cracked ends and is relatively lighter in weight than green wood. When banged together, seasoned wood will make a clear “clunk” sound and pieces may even break off.
There are two types of wood; hardwood and softwood. When it comes to choosing which you will burn, consider the following. The denser the wood, the longer it will burn. Seasoned hardwood typically weighs about twice as much as the same volume of softwood, but it has the potential to produce twice as much heat, making it a very efficient choice.
In reality, the best fires are made with both hardwood & softwood. Softwood ignites easier and burns quicker so it’s a great choice for starting a fire. Harwood burns longer and produces a steady heat source so should be used to feed the fire as it burns.
Types of hardwood:
Types of softwood:
When managing your woodpile and firewood stock, save the dense hardwood for the coldest months when you need the highest heat output and the softwood for kindling and as fuel for fires in spring and fall when less heat is needed.
Even the best seasoned firewood can be ruined by bad storage. If your firewood is exposed to rain or snow, it can absorb water causing it to rot or making it unfit to burn. It’s best to store wood off of the ground and under a protective covering, such as in a wood shed or on a covered porch. This allows air to circulate and dry out the wood during pleasant weather days, but keeps the firewood protected from the elements.
Don’t forget, all homes that enjoy wood burning fireplaces and stoves need to have an annual chimney inspection to check for creosote buildup. Contact our chimney sweep professionals today and schedule your appointment.
Chimney Solutions, Inc.
1155 McFarland 400 Drive, Alpharetta GA 30004
Office 770-255-1300 / Toll Free 877-697-9337
Chimney Sweep / Chimney Repairs / Chimney Liners / Fireplace & Stove Service
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Choosing Quality Wood