The Importance of Properly Seasoned Firewood
By Doug Hetsch
December 18, 2016
If you want to burn the best fires this winter, you need one important ingredient:properly seasoned firewood. Not only does this firewood provide warmer and longer lasting fires, but it also helps your fireplace burn more cleanly and more efficiently, according to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA). All American Chimney Service wants our customers to enjoy the best fires, so we would like to tell you more about seasoned firewood.
What exactly is seasoned firewood?
This type of firewood has been allowed to dry for at least six months after it has been cut. In order for the wood to season properly, it should be stored off of the ground and stacked so that air can easily circulate through the stacks to help the drying process. While the stacks should be covered when it is raining to keep water from penetrating into the wood, the sun can play a big role in drying the wood. Once the wood has been seasoned, it is important to keep it stored in this manner so that it does not reabsorb any more moisture.
Why is it so important to only burn seasoned firewood?
Burning green or freshly-cut wood can result in smoke and odor problems and a rapid buildup of creosote, which can lead to dangerous chimney fires. Seasoned firewood, on the other hand, provides longer lasting fires without producing a lot of smoke or creosote because it burns so cleanly. You will also have warmer fires because the fire does not have to waste energy drying out the wood. When you burn wet wood, the fire cannot provide any heat until it has dried out the wood. This means you will not have to use as much seasoned firewood to get a lot of cozy warmth.
How can I know if the firewood has been properly seasoned?
If you do not already have a firewood dealer you can trust, you can ask friends, family, and neighbors for recommendations for a good place to buy your wood. You can also follow suggestions from the CSIA on what to look for when buying seasoned firewood. Properly seasoned firewood should have darkened ends with visible splits and cracks; the ends of green wood will look fresher. Seasoned firewood will be more lightweight than freshly-cut wood. You can also check by knocking two pieces of the wood together to hear what sounds the wood makes on contact. Seasoned firewood will make a clear clunking sound, and green wood will make a dull thudding sound. If you want to be completely sure that the wood you are buying is sufficiently seasoned, you can purchase a moisture meter from a hardware or home improvement store. Freshly-cut wood can have a moisture content of up to 45 percent, but properly seasoned firewood should show between 20 and 25 percent moisture when you check it with the moisture meter.
Enjoy warmer, cleaner, and longer lasting fires with seasoned firewood.Contactus at All American Chimney Service for more tips on making the most of your fireplace this winter as well as for any chimney repair, maintenance, and installation needs you may have.