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As we get closer to the season of winter, it is time to start reviewing your heating budget. At Ashbusters, our staff is always looking for ways to get more heat for less money, and one of the best recommendations that we can make to our clients is to be picky when it comes to your firewood supply.

When you use the right kind of firewood, you will be able to enjoy longer lasting, warmer fires without having to use a lot of wood. If you are not sure what the best firewood is to burn this winter, we recommend only using seasoned firewood. To help you understand why we only burn seasoned firewood every winter, we would like to answer a few of the most frequently asked questions about this superior type of fuel for your wood-burning fireplace.

What exactly is seasoned firewood?

To get the best firewood for your heating supply, you should be looking for seasoned wood, which means that it has been allowed to dry for at least six months after it has been cut. Freshly cut wood typically has a moisture content of 40 to 50 percent, but the seasoning process reduces this by half. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), properly seasoned firewood burns cleaner, starts easier, and provides more heat.

Why is seasoned firewood the best to burn?

The CSIA says the reason why it is so much better to burn seasoned firewood is that when you use freshly cut wet wood, all of the heat produced by the fire is used to burn off the water inside the wood. This means less heat is provided to your home. It also means gallons of acidic water are deposited inside your chimney, which damages the masonry materials.

How do I know if the firewood I buy has been properly seasoned?

You can ask your friends, family, and neighbors for their recommendations for firewood dealers who sell firewood that has been correctly seasoned. You can also tell if wood has been dried by looking at it. Seasoned firewood is lightweight and has darkened ends with visible cracks and splits. If you knock together two pieces of seasoned wood, it will make a clear clunking sound. On the other hand, freshly cut wood is much heavier and makes a dull thud when knocked together. You can also buy a moisture content reader for around $20 from a hardware store and use it when shopping for firewood to be sure the wood only contains 20-25 percent water before you buy it.

The best firewood for your chimney is seasoned firewood. For more wood-burning tips, contact us at Ashbusters to find out how to make the most out of your chimney and fireplace this year.