The fuel you burn in your fireplace matters. The right fuel ensures that your fireplace burns cleanly and efficiently. When you burn the right fuel, you get more heat with less fuel. In addition, you prevent the rapid buildup of creosote in your chimney. Do you have a wood-burning fireplace or heating stove? If so, this means burning properly seasoned firewood is essential!
Seasoned firewood is wood that has been adequately dried and stored. This is to have the ideal water content for burning. The goal in seasoning firewood is to lower water content to between 20 and 25 percent, from the 45 percent water content it has when it is first cut. Properly seasoning firewood generally takes between six and 12 months.
Why does properly seasoned firewood matter?
Properly seasoned firewood, all around, creates a better burn. The water trapped in wood that hasn’t been properly seasoned makes the wood difficult to ignite. Once wet wood is lit, the water trapped inside causes the fire to burn cooler and put off less heat. When unseasoned firewood is burning, it also puts off more steam and smoke. This leads to a faster buildup of dangerous and flammable creosote in your chimney!
How do you properly season firewood?
Are you cutting and preparing your own firewood? If so, there are a few steps you should be taking to prepare your firewood. First, keep in mind that your firewood will need to be cut six months to a year in advance of when you prepare to use it. When you are ready to cut your firewood, the logs should be cut to fit your firebox. Then, the logs should be split, with some logs smaller than others. Finally, loosely stack the wood off of the ground in a place where the sun and wind will help to dry it. Let the wood sit until it has reached the desired moisture content.
How can you tell if firewood has been properly seasoned?
Whether you’re buying wood that has been pre-seasoned or if you’re seasoning your own firewood, you will want to make sure your wood has reached the desired moisture point before you burn it. You can buy a moisture gauge to take a technical reading, or you can give the wood a quick inspection. Properly seasoned firewood feels light, is grayish in hue, and will be cracked with bark that flakes easily away. If you tap two seasoned logs together, they will make a hollow sound like a drum. When you ignite the fire, you will be able to tell for sure whether the wood is ready: Fully seasoned firewood ignites easily – and crackles pleasantly while it burns. Wet firewood will be difficult to light and will hiss and steam as it burns.
Of course, before you burn any firewood in your fireplace this season, you will want to make sure your fireplace is cleaned and ready. Call Environmental Chimney Service today to schedule your annual sweeping and inspection before you light your first fire!