Burning the Right Kind of Wood
Newly chopped firewood is approximately 60% water, and that percentage can go even higher. This causes the wood not to burn as well. You need to season the wood first in order to let the liquid dry out until the moisture is around 20% or less. Then, it is ready for an efficient burn. Seasoning firewood means allowing the water content of the wood evaporate, which means not exposing the wood to additional moisture. Drying firewood will make it burn easily and safely.
Burning unseasoned firewood or partially seasoned wood is chancy. Unseasoned wood creates additional creosote. Creosote is the oily sticky substance that doesn’t burn and is extremely flammable. It takes time before the wood gets fully dried, but it can be done in a stress-free way using some tricks and practices to speed up the process.
- When chopping wood, make the thickness 6-8 inches and approximately 18” long. Place the wood outside where it is convenient, yet not so close to the home that you have to worry about pests
- Pile the wood correctly so that the wood is not sitting directly on the ground. Put a base under to keep it off the ground and to avoid soil moisture. A pallet is a good base because it is a few inches higher off the ground.
- Make space between the wood stack and the wall to sustain air flow. Using a pallet as the base of your stack will also provide air flow to your stack. Air can speed up the drying process.
- Only cover the top 1 to 2 feet of the stack, but 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. Covering just the top also helps keep rain and snow off the wood pile.
- Place your pile in a location where it can get the most possible sunlight throughout the day.
It can take up to a full year to thoroughly season a pile of wood, so make sure your technique is correct. Remember, seasoned wood is not only safer, as it produces less creosote, but it also gives you a faster and more warming fire. There will also be less smoke if you use dry wood. How do you know if the wood is dry? If you hit two pieces of wood together and hear a crisp sound, the wood is dry. If the sound is more muffled, you may be dealing with wet wood. Bottom line: prepare your wood early, keep it stacked to avoid additional moisture and yet still allow air flow. These few tips will help you get the most for your money.