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.

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