It’s almost October, and that means it’s nearly time for a crackling fire in the fireplace. Ideally, you have a nice supply of firewood ready for the first fire of the season, but if you’re like many homeowners, you put it off until the last minute. When it comes to chimney and fireplace maintenance and preparation, procrastination can be dangerous. You may be left out in the cold, and you may waste time and money trying to light improper firewood.
Your firewood should be properly seasoned before it’s burned in the fireplace (or anywhere else). When the tree is cut down, it’s filled with water that was keeping it alive. When it’s cut, it must be set aside for 3-6 months to dry–maybe longer for extremely hard woods. Selecting the correct firewood is the best way to have an efficient fireplace, a warm fire, and a safe burn all season long. Seasoned firewood produces less creosote, burns hotter with less fuel, and is easier to light. If you don’t take the time to cut and store firewood, you risk depending on green or “wet” wood to heat your home, and you’ll be sorely disappointed.
Burning green wood has too much water content. When it’s burned it takes more wood to reach the desired temperature, the wood burns incompletely, and it even produces more particulate pollution that affects the environment and more soot and creosote that affects your chimney. In order to get the most out of your firewood, especially if you’re cutting from your own property, is to select wood species that will work best for your needs and to cut and store it properly so that it burns better and lasts longer.
There are many ways to properly store firewood while it dries, and many of them can be cheap, and some can even be fun.
- Woodshed – You can build a woodshed for your firewood that keeps it out of the elements, while still allowing airflow. If you stack your firewood tightly inside a closed shed or building, it may take longer to dry because there won’t be any air flowing around and between the wood. A popular option is a lean-to because it allows sunlight and air to dry the wood, while keeping it covered from rain and snow.
- Woodpile – If you don’t have the time or materials to build a woodshed, you may choose to stack the wood in your yard. This is a fine way to allow it to dry, and it can still dry while exposed to the elements. Simply stack it bark-side-up so that water runs off. The bottom layer can be stacked bark-side-down to keep from absorbing standing water. However, you can prevent standing water by putting your stack of firewood on a bed of sand or gravel. Regardless, you can ensure the wood is ready by stacking loosely and by letting it sit for 3-6 months. Don’t rush it.
If you’re not sure what kind of firewood to use or what the big deal is, you can call and talk to a fire expert at The Cozy Flame. We’re always willing to answer your questions because our customers are first priority. We want you to be safe and warm this fall and winter, and your fire starts with your firewood. Call us at 203-283-4459.