Tips For Choosing The Best Firewood

The type of firewood that you use in your fireplace or wood burning stove can have a big effect on it’s performance. Knowing which woods to choose can help keep your home warmer and even help keep your family safer from fires.

The best type of wood is of course, high quality, well seasoned wood. Wood that is properly seasoned will burn much cleaner and much more efficiently. All wood contains some water, wood that has just been cut can be as much as 45% water, while well seasoned wood is usually only about 25% water.

Seasoned wood will provide much more heat than freshly cut wood and it will be easier to get your fire started as well. If you cut or purchase your fireplace wood from six months to a year ahead of time, the wind and sun will have time to properly season it.

Water from the roots of a tree travels to the branches and leaves through a series of tiny microscopic tubes. Even once a tree has been dead for years, these tiny tubes can still contain moisture. Cutting  your wood in small lengths ahead of time can promote the evaporation of the water inside the tubes.

There are a few guidelines to follow when purchasing wood to make sure that you’re getting seasoned wood. Check the ends of the planks to see if they have became dark. The wood should be light and make a clunk when you hit two pieces together. Another really good sign that the wood is seasoned is visible splits and cracks in the plank.

Since green or fresh wood is so high in water content it won’t provide as much heat. The majority of the initial heat is actually used to dry the wood out so that it can burn properly! But, while this water is evaporating and going into your chimney so is creosote!

Creosote is an acidic water that clings to the sides of your fireplace and chimney. This buildup can quickly cause fires, aside from giving out less heat, cresote deposits are the main reason you should never burn fresh wood in a fireplace or stove.

If at all possible, firewood should be purchased in the spring and then stored properly to allow it to become seasoned. Wood should always be stored up off of the ground. Sitting on the ground will cause the wood to retain moisture and it will quickly start to rot and become unfit for burning.

The best place to store fire wood is in a wood shed. A structure that has a roof but doesn’t have any walls is ideal. This helps to protect the wood from the wind and snow, but allows good air circulation so that the wood can dry out properly.

If you don’t have a wood shed, place your wood pile in a good sunny area of your yard. You will need to work harder to care for the wood if you don’t have a roof to protect it. It should be covered with plastic or tarps to keep the rain and snow off of it, but don’t forget to uncover it when the it stops raining or snowing. The covering will hold in moisture and ruin the quality of the wood.

You can purchase several cement blocks to stack the wood on and keep it off of the ground. But, any type of foundation that will allow air to circulate under the wood will work fine. Fire wood that is properly stored and cared for can last as much as three or four years!

If you have no choice but to burn fresh wood, have your chimney checked regularly. Pine makes a good choice for kindling, but you shouldn’t burn too much of it. Softwoods are alright to use to, but they burn more easily and can quickly cause a large fire before you realize it.

Sometimes you can pick up wood scraps at construction sites and a lot of the time you can find great kindling pieces for free. However, you should never burn any wood in your fireplace that has been treated or painted. Toxic chemicals such as arsenic, will be released into your home if the wood is treated or painted.