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Tips for Properly Storing Firewood

While the first fire of the fall is months away, if you cut and prepare your own firewood, you are likely hard at work readying fuel for next winter’s fires. You alsoTips For Properly Storing Firewood- Indianapolis IN- Your Chimney Sweep INC-w800-h597 likely know that there’s a lot more to preparing firewood than cutting down trees. There are several steps you should take to properly season and store your firewood to create the best firewood for your fireplace or woodstove.

Cut and split your firewood to the right size.

One advantage to cutting your own firewood is that you can cut it to the proper length for your fireplace or woodstove. Ideally, firewood should be three inches shorter than the width of your firebox. Once it is cut to length, logs should be split to a width of 6 inches or less.

Stack wood in a single layer, where it is exposed to light and wind.

Wood needs to be properly seasoned before it is fit for a fireplace. That means the moisture content of the wood should be less than 20 percent. To achieve that, wood needs to be exposed to wind and sun to evaporate the moisture out. Stack the wood loosely in a single layer. Wood should be left uncovered while it is seasoning.

Season firewood for at least one season.

It takes at least one season of drying for wood to be seasoned and ready for the fireplace. You will be able to tell if wood is seasoned if it is lighter, dull gray in color, slightly cracked and if it makes a hollow thumping noise when struck together.

Save enough space.

While seasoning firewood can be stacked nearly anywhere in the yard or field, you will need to have space to store your properly seasoned firewood for the winter. A wood-burning home uses three cords of wood or more each winter, which takes up a lot of space.

Store seasoned firewood off the ground and covered.

Seasoned firewood should be stacked off the ground, and it should be covered to prevent it from absorbing additional moisture. A covered woodshed or porch is ideal, but wood can be stacked outside on a wood stacker or atop a base of pallets and then covered securely with tarps. Never store firewood against your house or in your house, as that can introduce bugs and other pests to your home. Make sure wood stays dry to prevent the growth of mold, which can go airborne when burned, posing a health hazard.

Properly seasoned and stored firewood is crucial for keeping your fireplace or woodstove burning efficiently and cleanly. Without it, you won’t realize the maximum heat output from your fireplace, and you will cause flammable creosote to build up quickly in your fireplace. You will be able to tell if your firewood has been properly seasoned and stored when you burn it — Dry wood will let off the pleasant crackling sound associated with a traditional fireplace fire, while wet firewood will hiss and steam.

By Joe Sauter on June 11th, 2016 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Fire Safety Tips

A fireplace or heating stove can help to heat your home during the cold winter months while also helping you lower your home heating bills. But fireplaces and woodstoves also can bring a home fire hazard. In fact, the majority of home fires occur during the coldest months: December, January and February. Fortunately, you can keep your home and family warm and safe by following some fire safety guidelines.

Practice proper fireplace maintenance.

Fire safety tips - indianapolis IN - Your Chimney Sweep

According to the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), a good portion of home-heating fires are caused by dirty chimneys, fireplaces or stoves. In wood-burning fireplaces or stoves, flammable creosote can build up on the walls of a chimney, posing a fire hazard. In other types of fireplaces, debris or animal nests can block chimneys. Gas and pellet stoves should have fans and vents cleaned from dust and debris. In all types of fireplaces or stoves, cracking chimneys or malfunctioning parts can lead to a home fire. Because of these dangers, the National Fire Protection Agency recommends that all fireplaces, stoves and chimneys be cleaned and inspected by a certified chimney sweep at least once per year.

Prep your fireplace or stove before lighting a fire.

Before you light a fire, make sure your fireplace or stove has been properly prepared. Clear out any ash from previous fires. In a pellet stove, make sure there isn’t any debris. Make sure your damper is entirely opened to allow for proper ventilation of the fire and to prevent smoke from billowing back into your home. If you have an open-hearth fireplace, build your fire on a metal grate. Glass doors should be fully opened when a fire is burning, and use a metal screen over the fireplace opening to prevent burning embers from flying out into the room. Never leave your fire unattended.

Never burn other materials in your fireplace.

Never burn anything other than the intended fuel in your fireplace. That includes cardboard, wrapping paper, trash, plastics, coal and Christmas trees. These can all cause a flare up that could lead to a chimney fire, or release toxic fumes into your home. In a wood-burning stove or fireplace, only properly seasoned, dry firewood should be burned to prevent an excess of flammable creosote from building up.

Create a safe area around your fireplace.

Make sure you create a buffer between your fireplace and the rest of your room. Flammable materials, such as décor, books, pillows and furniture, should be kept at least two feet away from a fireplace. Consider installing a safety gate around the hearth to keep pets and children a safe place from the fire’s flames or the hard edges of the hearth or stove.

Be prepared for a potential home fire.

Practice recommended home safety guidelines. Keep a fire extinguisher on hand. Have operating smoke and carbon monoxide detectors on all floors of your home, especially outside of bedrooms. Create a fire evacuation plan and make sure all members of the family have the plan memorized.

By exercising common sense and following a few safety guidelines, you can enjoy your fireplace or stove all winter while keeping your family safe.

By Joe Sauter on January 11th, 2016 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment