As fall and winter approach and the temperatures outside start getting cooler, many homeowners are preparing for the change in the seasons by buying their firewood for the season. After you purchase firewood, however, it is important to properly store it in order to get the most out of your purchase.
Wood that is stored incorrectly is more likely get wet, rot, have bugs, or have other signs of decay that make it unsuitable for burning in your fireplace. Properly storing your firewood ensures that you will have quality wood to last all winter long.
Buying the right firewood
If you’re going to put in the time and effort to correctly store your firewood, it is important that you buy the right wood to begin with. Because there are a number of different kinds of firewood, the specific kind of wood you purchase often comes down to personal preference. Hard woods such as ash, oak, and maple create a fire that burns hotter, maintains a more constant heat, and produces less smoke. However, hard woods are more difficult to ignite and may take longer to get a fire started.
Soft woods such as pines, firs, and spruces are easier to ignite and are often used as kindling for hard wood fires. Soft woods also tend to produce more smoke, making them ideal to use in grills or when smoking meat. However, the amount of smoke produced and the low temperature fires they create may not be ideal for use in an interior fireplace.
No matter what kind of firewood you choose, it is important that the wood is properly seasoned. Seasoned firewood is wood that has dried through exposure to the elements for at least six months. Seasoning firewood removes the high moisture content that fresh cut wood has, allowing it to burn at hotter temperatures with less smoke and less creosote creation.
How to store firewood
After you’ve taken the time to find the perfect firewood, it is important to store it correctly as well. First, firewood should be stored off the ground; large metal firewood racks can be used, but wood can even be stacked on top of treated boards. Keeping the bottom layer of wood off of the ground keeps the wood dry, preventing rotting and helping to minimize insects in the wood.
The top of the firewood stack should also be covered to protect it from snow buildup. If too much moisture is allowed to build up on top of the firewood, it can trickle down through the entire stack, causing rot throughout. Instead, the wood should be stored so that the top is covered but the sides are left open, allowing wood to flow through the wood and help dry out any moisture exposure.
While it may seem tempting to store large amounts of firewood inside, only the wood you immediately need should be kept inside. When allowed to warm to room temperature, insects that are dormant in the wood may become active, escaping into your home. Instead, keep wood outdoors until it is needed; small amounts of wood can also be kept in a garage or shed to minimize the amount of time you spend collecting wood in the cold.
If you have any questions about firewood or the right firewood for your fireplace, furnace, or stove, contact the experts at The Cozy Flame.