As we are getting closer to the days of cooler weather, you should be getting your firewood supply ready! If you think that any type of wood is okay to burn in your fireplace, you should reconsider. All American Chimney Service strongly recommends to our customers to only burn seasoned firewood. This keeps your fireplace and chimney system cleaner and safer. In addition, it also increases the heating efficiency in your home. Now, we would like to answer a few frequently asked questions. This will help you understand why burning properly seasoned firewood in your fireplace is important.
What exactly is seasoned firewood?
You may be wondering if you need to be sprinkling salt, pepper, or other spices on your supply of firewood. However, seasoned wood is firewood that has been to dry for at least six months after it has been cut. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), properly seasoned firewood should have a moisture content of 20 to 25 percent. Since freshly cut wood contains a moisture content of 40 percent, the seasoning process makes a big difference!
Why is it so important for the wood to be dry?
When you burn freshly cut, or “green,” wood, the fire must spend a great deal of energy burning off all of the moisture contained inside the wood. This means less heat will be provided to your home from that fire. It can also lead to significant damage inside your chimney. The slower burn time creates an environment where creosote can develop and accumulate into larger than normal amounts. It also produces gallons of acidic water! This can corrode and deteriorate the bricks and mortar joints of your chimney.
How can I be sure the firewood I buy is sufficiently seasoned?
All American Chimney Service recommends that you ask your friends, family, and neighbors for references to a trusted firewood dealer. One who only sells wood that has been properly seasoned. You can also buy a moisture reader for about 20 dollars from a hardware store. This will measure the water content of the firewood before you buy it.
If you are able to cut your own firewood, you can season it yourself by storing it outside, allowing the sun and wind to dry it. Stacking the wood in a covered storage shed is ideal. Having said that, the most important thing is to make sure the wood is not stacked directly on the ground. You can stack it on pallets, concrete blocks, or gravel. Afterwards, cover the top of the stacks with a tarp for rainy days. Make sure that the sides of the stacks are open to keep moisture from getting trapped!
Improve the energy efficiency in your home this winter by only burning seasoned firewood. Contact us at All American Chimney Service to find out more ways to get more heat for less money with your fireplace!