Warm, crackling, cozy fires might be the last thing on your mind in the middle of summer, but summer is actually the best time to start thinking about how you will fuel your wood-burning fireplace. All of the firewood you burn should be properly seasoned; that is, dried to lower the moisture content. Properly curing firewood takes time. Whether you are cutting your own firewood or you plan to buy uncured wood, which can be cheaper that cured wood, you will need time to stack and cure your firewood. That means summer is the time to start prepping your wood for the winter.
Properly curing your firewood is time consuming. So is it worth the time and effort it takes to properly season your firewood? The answer is yes, and here is why:
Properly seasoned firewood burns more efficiently.
First and foremost, you get more heat from your fireplace when your firewood has been properly cured. When too much moisture is trapped inside your firewood, the fire has to work harder to heat your home. The energy of the fire has to heat and boil away the water trapped in the wood. As a result, the fire will burn cooler and your home will get less heat from your fires than it would from properly seasoned firewood.
Properly seasoned firewood is easier to light.
Have you ever tried to get a fire started with damp firewood? It’s not easy. If your firewood hasn’t been properly cured, you might have difficulty lighting fires in your fireplace this winter. The wood might eventually light, but you’ll have to deal with the frustration of wasted time as you work to turn your too wet firewood into a roaring blaze.
Unseasoned firewood leads to a rapid buildup of creosote.
Creosote forms when smoke cools. Because firewood that hasn’t full cured burns cooler and less efficiently, it doesn’t heat up your chimney the way a fire should. As a result, the smoke in your chimney cools faster and creosote forms and builds up more rapidly. With the rapid buildup of creosote due to unseasoned firewood, you risk a dangerous and damaging chimney fire.
Unseasoned firewood creates more smoke.
Because of the cooler burn temperatures, unseasoned firewood also results in more smoke. In addition to causing the more rapid buildup of creosote, the excessive amount of smoke created by unseasoned firewood can cause smoke to billow out of your fireplace and back into your living space, and it can fill your yard and your neighborhood with excessive amounts of smoke.
Your first fire of the season might be months away, but the time to start thinking about and preparing your firewood for the winter is now! Make sure you plan enough time to properly season your firewood. If you have any questions about fueling your fireplace, don’t hesitate to ask your chimney sweep. If you haven’t scheduled your annual chimney sweeping, call Environmental Chimney Service to schedule your appointment today!