The Cozy Flame's Blog

Have A Wood Burning Insert? Only Burn Seasoned Firewood!

Only Burn Seasoned Firewood Image - Milford CT - The Cozy FlameWhen most of us think about fireplaces we imagine cozying up in front of a roaring wood fire. Unfortunately, open hearth masonry fireplaces are among the least efficient heating appliances, with as much as 90% of the heat produced by the fire going straight up the chimney. For homeowners who want the look and feel of a real wood fire – without the extreme inefficiency – a wood burning insert is often the perfect solution.

If you have a wood burning insert, it is important to use the right kind of firewood to keep it burning safely and efficiently. For inserts – and for all wood burning appliances – seasoned firewood is the best choice for firewood.

What is seasoned wood?

Seasoning wood isn’t about salt, pepper, or your favorite spices! Instead, it refers to the process by which wood is cut, stacked, and exposed to the elements to dry. While the seasoning process can anywhere from six months to a year – or longer – it is the only way to get the best wood for your fireplace.

The primary purpose of the seasoning process is the removal of moisture from the wood. When wood is cut it contains as much as 40-50% water. The water content in freshly cut or “green” firewood makes it difficult to ignite, burn sluggishly, produce greater amounts of smoke, and creates additional creosote. After seasoning, the moisture content in wood is as low as 10-20%. This lower moisture content helps the wood ignite and burn quickly and at higher temperatures, making a better fire and a more enjoyable experience for you and your family.

Tips for finding the best firewood

Unless you cut, chop, stack, and store your own firewood, finding properly seasoned wood can be a challenge. When shopping for firewood, the following tips can ensure you are getting the best seasoned firewood for your wood insert.

  • Find a reputable seller. Ads for firewood can be found online, in newspapers, and even posted in local hardware stores. Before purchasing, make sure to ask questions about the wood: What kind of wood is it? When was it cut? How long has it been seasoned for? Reputable sellers should be able to easily answer any questions about the firewood they are selling.
  • Decide how much to buy. Unless you are buying a few logs at a time, firewood is typically sold by the cord and can be broken into sections of half, quarter, or third cords. Because cords are not measurements typically used in everyday life, it can be difficult to visualize how much wood this is. A cord of wood will measure four feet high by four feet wide by eight feet long. The amount of wood you use will depend on the size of your home and fireplace, how often it is used, and whether or not it is used as a primary heat source.
  • Only burn seasoned wood. Wood or wood products that are prefabricated, pre-treated, or painted are never suitable for use in an fireplace insert. This includes plywood and fencing and decking materials. The coatings on these kinds of wood can release toxic chemicals into the air when burned.

Choosing the right firewood can help you get the most out of your wood burning fireplace insert. For more information on the importance of seasoned firewood or to find a new wood burning insert for your home, contact The Cozy Flame today!

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What Firewood Should I Choose?

Before going out and buying the first cord of firewood for your fireplace this season, make sure you are buying good efficient hardwood that has been well seasoned for fireplace use.


For questions on the the right wood and fuel for your stove or fireplace, contact the fireplace experts at The Cozy Flame in Milford, CT.

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Proper Firewood Storage

Proper Firewood Storage - Milford, CT- The Cozy FlameAs 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.

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