Keeping your firewood dry is paramount to a good fire

Keeping your firewood dry is paramount to a good fire

Fall has officially arrived. While the temperatures are still fairly comfortable, they have most certainly dropped several degrees. With the shortened daylight hours and changing leaves, it is evident that summer has come and gone. With the start of fall comes thoughts of the impending winter months, which are sure to be cold. Many homeowners are looking ahead to heating their homes, and some plan to use their wood-burning fireplaces or stoves. In order to utilize these appliances, stocking up on high quality firewood is in order.

Choosing where to buy your firewood from, how much to buy, and what types of wood you should pick are questions that all wood-burning homeowners struggle with. Once you finally decide and have your wood, you are then faced with the decision of how to store your wood. Luckily, there are some basic guidelines you can follow to have the best, hottest fire for the upcoming cold season.

Rule number one for purchasing firewood is to buy it as early as you can. While purchasing wood a full year ahead of time is ideal, most people cannot afford or store this much firewood. In place of this, buying wood as far an advance as you can is adequate. The reason for stocking up early is to give the wood a chance to dry. Most wood is “green,” which means freshly cut. It usually has tremendously high water content – up to 100 percent water, which means half the weight of the wood is purely water. The ideal level of water is below 20 percent, so your wood needs enough time to dry out.

Next, store your wood as far from your home as you can. At least thirty feet is best, but do the best you can with your specific space. Avoid storing it inside or against the house, because pests like bugs, termites and rodents like to nest up inside the wood, and you do not want these near or in your home.

Stack your wood off the ground. Many people use wood pallets for this purpose, but home supply stores also sell special frames to prop the wood off the ground. This practice helps air flow beneath the wood to help it dry more efficiently.

Another important measure to take is to cover your wood. Instead of tarping over the entire stack of wood, only cover the top. This allows air to flow through the wood to enable drying while still protecting the stack from the elements. Metal roofing sheets or plastic tarps make great covers, but the important idea is to keep the top of the pile shielded from rain.

Burning dry firewood – that is, firewood with moisture below 20 percent – ensure the hottest, safest fire. First, the fire wastes less energy boiling the water away, allowing the fire to become hotter. Also, burning wet wood create significantly more smoke, which carries dangerous chemicals like creosote.

If you have any more questions about how to buy, stack, and care for your firewood, contact New Buck Chimney Services in the Shreveport area of Louisiana to speak with an expert.