The right kind of firewood can make a huge difference in the performance of your fireplace and chimney system. If you want fires that burn cleanly and efficiently, you should only use firewood that has been properly seasoned, or dried. Using green, or wet, wood can result in smoking problems, odor issues, and accelerated development of creosote, which can lead to a dangerous chimney fire. All American Chimney Service wants you to be able to enjoy the best fires in your fireplace, so we would like to tell you more about properly seasoned firewood.
How can I be sure the firewood I buy is properly seasoned?
We recommend that you ask your friends and family where they buy their firewood. Finding a trustworthy firewood dealer is one way to know the wood has been seasoned correctly. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) has a couple of suggestions for firewood buyers to be sure the wood is sufficiently seasoned. Properly seasoned firewood will typically have darkened ends with visible cracks or splits and will be much lighter than green wood. You can also knock two pieces of the wood together, and if you hear a clear clunking sound, the wood is most likely seasoned. The only way to be completely sure is to use a moisture meter on the firewood. Freshly cut wood will register as 45 percent water, but seasoned wood should have a reading of 20 to 25 percent of moisture content.
How do I season my own firewood?
If you are able to cut your own wood, you can easily season it yourself. You will need to cut each piece of wood to length at least six months before you will be burning it. This allows the water to evaporate more quickly as the tube ends will be opened. The shorter length also helps the moisture to escape much faster. Once your wood has been cut, store it off the ground, and cover the top with a tarp. You want the sides of the piles to remain open to let air circulate. All American Chimney Service also recommends removing the tarp on warm sunny days to let the sun help to dry out the wood.
Does the species of the wood matter?
All species of wood can be seasoned. However, if you do have access to a variety of different species, the CSIA recommends using dense wood during the winter months for more heat and lighter wood during the fall and spring when you do not need very hot fires. You will also want to use lighter wood as kindling when starting a fire.
Properly seasoned firewood is very important for clean and safe fires. Contact us at All American Chimney Service for more firewood tips.