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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

Use seasoned firewood for a safer, hotter fire

Burning improperly seasoned firewood reduced your fire’s heating potential and puts your home at risk for increased air pollution, mold exposure and chimney fires. But what is properly seasoned firewood, and what can you do to make sure the wood you’ve chopped or purchased is ready for burning?

What is seasoned firewood?

Wood comprises a series of tubes that carry water from a tree’s roots to its branches. In fact, freshly cut wood contains about 45 percent water. Wood that is ideal for burning has been left to rest for at least six months, bringing its water content to between 20 and 25 percent.


Why is seasoned firewood important?

When firewood isn’t seasoned properly and moisture remains, it poses a risk to your home and reduced the efficiency of your fire. Wet firewood produces a lot of smoke. That smoke introduces more air pollution to your home, especially if you have an open-hearth fireplace. Even worse, the dense smoke put off by unseasoned firewood sticks more readily to your chimney’s walls. That can build up into dangerous-highly flammable creosote, which puts your home at danger for a chimney fire. Additionally, when wet wood is stacked, it leads to the potential for mold. Even if you don’t notice mold growing on your firewood, when moldy firewood is burned, it can send mold spores air born into your home.
Finally, when you light wet firewood, you’re not producing as warm of a fire as you could be. Much of the fire’s energy goes into evaporating the water from the firewood, meaning your fire is no longer heating your home as efficiently as it could.

How do I properly season my firewood?

If you’re chopping your own firewood or purchasing unseasoned firewood, you will need to store it properly to make sure it’s seasoned and ready to go for your fireplace or wood stove. First, logs should be cut to the appropriate length for your fireplace, generally 3 inches shorter than the firebox. Then, it should be split to the proper width of 3 to 6 inches. Wood should be stacked in a sunny place where the wind can blow through the woodpile. Don’t cover your seasoning woodpile, as the elements will help dry it over time. Once the wood is seasoned, it should be covered from rain and snow, as dried wood can reabsorb water.

How can I tell if my wood is properly seasoned?

There are several ways to tell if wood is dried and ready for a fire. First, you will notice cracks in the wood. Seasoned wood should feel lighter, and if you hit two pieces of wood together, you should hear a drum-like sound, while wet wood will let off a dull thud. The bark on dried wood will become loose, and the color will be yellow or brown, rather than a creamy white.

If you’re still not sure if your firewood is properly seasoned, try burning a few logs. Seasoned firewood will light easily and let off the pleasant crackling sound associated with fireplaces, while wet wood will be difficult to light and will hiss as the water inside turns to steam.