It’s never too early to start planning for firewood storage and seasoning! In fact, if you start now, your firewood should be ready for the next holiday season! That said, many don’t even know where to begin when it comes to seasoning their own firewood. Fortunately for folks throughout Nashville, our experts are here to help with it all!
What Is Seasoned Firewood?
Wood that is well seasoned will have been dried for at least six months after it has been cut. This process lowers the moisture content, so there’s less water for your flames to burn through when you go to light your fires. Fresh-cut wood usually has a moisture content of around 40-50%, while seasoned wood should only have about 15-25% water.
Why is all this important? Using seasoned wood ensures your fires will burn cleaner and hotter, and they’ll produce less smoke, too. Burning seasoned wood also helps to reduce the amount of acidic fumes (which produce creosote deposits) flowing up your chimney, which in turn lowers your risk of experiencing a chimney fire.
Needless to say, using dry, well-seasoned wood is well worth it!
Now, the best way to know for a fact that you’re getting the best firewood available is to season it yourself. This is also a lot cheaper than buying from a dealer, and as long as you’re willing to put in the time and work to get it done, it is a very doable process.
Check out our guidelines below, and feel free to reach out to our knowledgeable crew with any questions. Your safety and satisfaction is always our top priority!
Tips for Cutting & Stacking
The way you cut and stack your firewood plays a big role in how quick and effectively it will dry out over time. Keep the following tips in mind to ensure you don’t miss a thing and that your pile doesn’t get compromised by excess moisture or pests.
- Cut your wood to the appropriate length. Each piece should be at least three inches shorter than the width of your firebox. The ensures the pieces can dry out more quickly, and you also won’t have to worry that they won’t fit in your firebox when the burning season starts.
- Keep all the pieces about the same length, so that they’re easier to stack.
- Split the ends of your logs. This gives them more exposure to sun and wind, both of which help to speed up the seasoning process.
- Stack your larger logs on the bottom. This helps keep the stack sturdier.
- Fit the logs together as much as you can (to ensure stability), but also allow for some gaps and openings. These allow wind and sunshine to get through and help with the drying process.
- Make sure the ends are lined up as nicely as possible and exposed to the elements. This, again, guarantees a stable and sturdy stack that has plenty of access to wind, heat, and the sun.
- Don’t stack your pile 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 Storing
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.
Be sure to follow these guidelines.
- Place the wood outside where it is convenient and easy to access, yet not so close to the home that you have to worry about pests entering your living space.
- Keep the wood off the ground. Putting a reliable base under will help it avoid any moisture from the soil. Wood pallets are ideal for this, or even concrete blocks or gravel can work well.
- Cover the stack on rainy/snowy days, removing the cover when the suns out to help with the drying process. When covering, only cover the top 1 – 2 feet of the stack, and leave the sides open. Covering any more than that impedes air circulation. If the wood is still green, covering more will just hold in the moisture, and prevent a natural air-dry.
- Place your pile in a location where it can get the most possible sunlight throughout the day.
- If possible, store your wood pile in a shed with open sides and a solid rooftop. This ensures it stays protected on bad weather days, while still getting the air and circulation necessary to adequately dry out.
Purchasing Firewood? What You Need to Know
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 ends.
- 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, maple, oak, and walnut ideal for using in your fireplace. Oak trees, in particular, take much longer to grow than other trees, which gives their wood a much better composition for burning longer fires.
- Avoid purchasing cedar and pine. These softwoods 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.