It’s never too early to start planning for firewood storage and seasoning! In fact, if you start now, your firewood will be perfect for the 2022 burning season. That said, many don’t even know where to begin when it comes to seasoning their own firewood. Fortunately, our experts are here to help with it all!
What exactly is seasoned firewood? Well, it’s wood that has been allowed to dry for at least six months after it has been cut. This process ensures there’s less water for those flames to get through which leaves your fires burning cleaner, hotter, and less smoky. It also keeps your chimney healthier, too, by producing less creosote buildup and damage from acidic fumes.
In the end, fresh-cut wood usually has a moisture content of around 40-50%, while seasoned wood should only have about 20% water.
Needless to say, using dry, well-seasoned wood is well worth it!
How to Season Your Own Firewood
There are some clear –cut guidelines to follow when preparing to season your own firewood. First of all, be sure to cut your wood to the appropriate length. Each piece should be at least three inches shorter than the width of your firebox. Being shorter in length allows them pieces to dry out more quickly, and it also ensures they’ll actually fit in your firebox. You’ll also want to keep all the pieces about the same length.
It’s also beneficial to split the ends of your logs, as this gives them more exposure to sun and wind, both of which help to speed up the seasoning process.
Once your wood is cut and split, it’s time to stack it. Start by placing the larger logs at the bottom, and do your best to fit them together (to keep the pile sturdy), while also allowing for gaps, so wind can come through and help with the drying process. You’ll also want to make sure the ends are exposed, so again all that wind has easy access.
Along with this, keep the ends as lined up as possible to keep the stack more stable, and be careful not to stack your firewood too high. We recommend going no higher than four feet to minimize the risk of wood shifting, as well as the possibility of wood falling on pets and children.
Tips for Storage
Now, cutting and stacking your wood right is important, but if it isn’t stored properly over the months, it still won’t give you that high-quality burn you’re hoping for come burning season. In fact, without proper storage, the wood can reabsorb large amounts of moisture from the atmosphere, making all that hard work you put in null and void.
One of the most important factors when storing firewood is to keep it off of the ground because of how easily wood absorbs ground moisture. A roofed shed with open sides is the optimal storage space for seasoned firewood, but if you don’t have access to this type of set–up, there are other ways to keep your wood dry, too. For instance, stacking your firewood on pallets, concrete blocks, or even gravel will do wonders when trying to avoid excess moisture.
Also, if you don’t have a roof over your wood pile, you can cover it with a tarp on those snowy or rainy days. Be sure that the sides are not covered by the tarp because you need air to be able to circulate properly, and remember to remove it when it’s sunny and warm, so those sun rays can help with further seasoning.
Purchasing Firewood? What You Need to Know
Now, not everyone has the space or time to season and/or store their own firewood. If you buy your firewood every burning season, there are things you can look for to ensure you get the best pieces possible. Keep the following in mind:
- Find pieces that are shorter in length, as well as dark and split at the end.
- Smack two pieces together. If they make a hollow “clunk,” you’re good to go! If it sounds more like a dull thud, there’s too much water in there.
- Well-seasoned wood should be relatively lightweight.
- Don’t go for the fresh-looking/smelling stuff! Seasoned wood will look older and smell mustier because it has been sitting out longer.
- Bring a moisture-meter to get the most accurate scoop on where the wood you’re purchasing stands.
- Don’t be afraid to ask where the firewood was cut and how it has been stored. You don’t want to buy wood that has traveled a long way from where it was cut.
- If given the option, oak is ideal for using in your fireplace. Oak trees take much longer to grow than other trees, which gives their wood a much better composition for burning longer fires.
- Avoid purchasing cherry and pine. They burn quicker and pop when they burn which can be quite dangerous.
Still Have Questions?
If you still have firewood-related questions (or any chimney or fireplace questions for that matter) please reach out to our experts today! We’re also happy to ensure our customers enjoy their fireplaces as safely and comfortably as possible with every passing year.
And if you have yet to get your annual inspection on the books, now is the time to reach out. Call us today or fill out our online contact form. We can’t wait to speak with you soon!