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As cold weather approaches, it’s really nice to enjoy the heat and calmness that the ambience of crackling fire can bring. Whether you are fueling your backyard fire pit or heating your home, you should choose the best firewood for burning. By storing and seasoning wood in a proper way, you will have wood that burns cleaner as well as yields more heat in a more efficient manner.

Importance of Seasoning Firewood

The wood is naturally green when it is cut and it has water content of about 60% or more. Unseasoned or green wood is quite hard to ignite, burns poorly, smolders and does not produce enough heat. In addition to that, unseasoned wood can also increase the accumulation of creosote in the flue.

In order to achieve a best burning process, the properly seasoned wood’s moisture content should only be 20%. The seasoning process generally allows the moisture in the wood to evaporate, yielding firewood which burns efficiently and safely. However, the downside of this process is that, seasoning of wood requires lot of time and effort. Typically, seasoning lasts from 6 months to 1 year, but there are certain practices that can speed the process.

Splitting, Storing and Stacking Wood

Trees are composed of giant stems. Wood and bark are also formed in order to keep the moisture inside. When the wood is being split, it exposes the interior surfaces to sunlight and air, which can lead to drying of the wood as well as can discourage the infestation of the insects.  In addition to that, stacking of wood can also speed up its drying through exposing more part of the wood surfaces to air and sunlight. In order to achieve a wood stacking success, follow the helpful steps below:

  1. Expose the wood to enough sunlight in order to fully eliminate the moisture. Also, wood that is stored in a shaded area dries too but it can often take a bit longer.
  2. You should consider choosing the best stack site carefully as the wood will remain in that certain spot longer. If you plan to use the site for other purposes in the near future, then don’t choose the site for stacking wood. Make sure that the wood stack won’t prevent your access to any part of the yard. In addition to that, you also need to make sure that the site brings you convenience and comfort when getting wood to bring indoors. Also, never put a wood stack against your garage, home or shed as it can only serve as an invitation for pests like termites. You should also check fire and local building codes that may stipulate the distance between structures and woodpiles.
  3. Try to avoid the wood from contacting the soil. The best solution is to use a plastic sheeting or tarp and place it beneath the wood. As a matter of fact, raising wood stacks off the soil is much better as it enables the air to flow beneath the wood. This is very true and effective even for stacks placed on the concrete. You can use a pair of 2×4 parallel woods or a firewood rack in order to elevate the stack of wood.
  4. If you plan to stack your wood near a wall or fence, you should allow a distance of few inches between the structure and wood in order for the air to circulate.
  5. When making some multiple side by side wood stacks, you should leave a few inches distance between the wood stacks in order for the air to flow.

For the stability and safety of your wood stack, never stack wood that is more than 4ft high.

Preparing for the cold months of winter should be done six months or more before the first sign of snow. Keeping your home warm with your own fireplace and firewood is necessary during winter. But having your own fireplace requires proper handling and safety measures.

Wood Fireplace: Tips for Proper Handling & Safety

  1. It is best to only burn cured or dried wood. Firewood that has been split and stored for more than six months produce more heat and burn cleaner compared to greenwood that has only been cut three months prior.
  2. To produce more heat and avoid poisonous chemicals from spreading in your house, burn only firewood and nothing else.
  3. Make sure to close the damper when you are no longer using the fireplace to keep the warm air indoors.
  4. Make sure to keep the bi-fold glass doors open whenever you are using the fireplace. Keeping the bi-fold glass open ensures that heat stays within the room.
  5. If you have a chimney, it is best to have a cap installed. Installing a cap on your chimney prevents rain, snow, and foreign objects from falling into the chimney and fireplace. Chimney caps also reduce the occurrence of downdrafts. Caps also have side vents to allow smoke to escape.
  6. Make sure to replace an old damper with a new one to prevent the loss of heat. It is best to use a top-mounted damper because of its multifaceted use.
  7. Install carbon smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in different parts of your house. Installing detectors prevent carbon monoxide poisoning and fires.
  8. To keep your chimney in good condition, it is best to have it cleaned two times a year.
  9. You can build a fire safely and efficiently by adding more firewood as it heats.

These are tips you can follow to prevent accidents from happening. These tips also help you properly maintain your chimney and fireplace.

Firewood is essential especially when the colder months of winter are fast approaching. Storing firewood should be done ahead of time to prevent any shortage when the winter season starts coming. Properly storing firewood can prevent a lot of hassle down the road and save you time when getting the fireplace going during the cold winter months. There is a lot of preparation when getting your firewood ready for storage. Rotting is your most important factor to remember along with pest control.

Storing Firewood Properly

Here are some tips when it comes to storing firewood:

Store the firewood you gathered where it gets enough wind and sun exposure to dry it out. Without storing . Make sure that the firewood you store will not be exposed to the rain.

Stack the firewood you gathered so that they remain sturdy. Make sure to stack the firewood you gathered no higher than four feet. Stacks higher than four feet are wobbly and unstable. Stack the firewood you gathered a few inches away from other stacks and the walls. Allow the firewood you gathered breathing room so that air circulates within it.
Stack firewood without direct contact to the ground. Ground moisture can seep into the firewood you stored. You can prevent ground moisture from seeping into your firewood by placing something between it and the ground. You can use tarpaulins or drain-able gravel.

Cover the firewood you stacked with a tarp but expose the side. A tarpaulin covering your stack of firewood protects it from rain. Exposing the sides allow air to circulate and seasons the firewood. Make sure to store the firewood you purchased inside a structure. The garage or storage room you store your firewood in must have enough sun and ventilation to dry the wood properly.
Spray pesticide around your stack of firewood so that insects will not go near them. Insects will destroy the firewood you stored if they are not kept away.

Storing firewood properly will extend it usefulness to more than three years. It is best to store the firewood you gathered in a wood shed or similar structures to prevent deterioration. These tips can help you store your firewood and keep you warm during the cold nights and days of winter.

How to Choose Firewood

Wood can contain up to 45% water right after you cut it down. Using freshly cut wood as firewood will be ineffective because it will use up too much energy just drying the wood and burning it at the same time. It is best to cut wood and store it six months to a year before you use it. Wood needs to be dry to burn effectively during winter. Storing the firewood you gathered six months to a year before using them allow it to dry. Seasoned firewood that has been stored for more than six months burns cleaner and produces more heat. Seasoned firewood burns more efficiently and delivers more heat. If you do not have the time or strength to cut and gather your own firewood, you can always purchase them. Firewood is sold in volume. The standard of measure when it comes to purchasing firewood is cord. Storing and choosing firewood takes careful consideration. There are factors that affect the efficiency of firewood. It is best to store and cut firewood up to six months before you use it.

 

Traditional firewood towers

The way you stack firewood can affect its efficiency once you use it during the cold season. There are different ways to stack firewood to ensure that it burns clean and produces more heat. Storing firewood properly protects it from the rain and the elements, provides it enough ventilation, and keeps insects away.

Different Ways to Stack Firewood Effectively

Keeping your home warm with a fire during the cold season is the best feeling you can have, especially during the torturous wind and snow of cold winter nights. The way you store and stack the firewood before winter will affect the way it burns and produces heat.

Here are some ways you can efficiently stack wood for the cold days and nights of winter:

Traditional Towers

Traditional firewood towersThis type of wood stacking is the most commonly used method. This style of wood stacking consists of several rows of firewood held in place with the help of a support tower. Support towers consist of log courses that are perpendicular to the one below and above it. This type of wood stacking allows for proper ventilation because of the spacing between the towers and the firewood. Traditional towers have been used for generations and are one of the oldest ways to stack wood. Using this type of wood stacking is time consuming because you would have to create the support towers aside from stacking the wood.

 

The Rope and Tower-Free 2×4 Style

tower-freeThis way of stacking firewood is quite similar to the traditional tower, except that this style uses ropes and 2x4s to support the rows of firewood. The ropes are interwoven between the stacks of firewood and the 2x4s are used for support. The rope is safely secured and draws the firewood toward the center of the pile. Stacking firewood using ropes and 2x4s is faster compared to using the traditional tower approach. The interwoven ropes and 2x4s ensure that the firewood you place in the pile is kept in place securely. Once you have setup the 2x4s and the ropes, it will be faster and easier to stack the firewood you have either bought or chopped yourself.

 

Shaker Style Round Firewood Stack

shaker-styleThis style of stacking firewood is the fastest and most efficient to make. It is simply a round stack of firewood, there are no frills about it. This circular way of stacking firewood provides enough space for the wood to breathe and get proper ventilation. The ends of the wood you stack touch each other at the center, but there is enough spacing between them as long as the weight is stacked toward the center of the pile. The round pile of stacking firewood is best suited for uneven pieces of wood that do not fit with the two previous forms of stacking.

These are the different ways to stack firewood for winter. You can try the different styles and find out which one is perfect for you and your pace. It is best to pile firewood where it does not touch the ground and has enough ventilation to keep it dry and seasoned for the cold nights and days of winter.

 

shaker-style

Burning wood in a stove or fireplace can be an economical alternative of heating and it can also provide a cozy focus in your entire home. However, purchasing firewood can sometimes be a challenging experience since most sales are mostly informal affairs. There are 3 important things to consider when buying firewood; it is the dryness of the wood, the species of wood, as well as the quantity of the wood being sold. In addition to that, there are other things that you should know about the laws regarding with the selling of firewood. These things can also help you make decisions when buying firewood.

Selecting the Right Firewood Dealer
When choosing a firewood dealer, you must take several important things into consideration.

Licensed

A legal and authorized firewood dealer must be licensed. According to DNR (Department of Natural Resources), a firewood dealer, or any business that involves the selling of firewood should have a Forest Products Operators License. You can go to your local forest service department and ask for a list of licensed firewood dealers in your area. In case you have found the potential dealer, you can verify if they are really licensed by asking for their legal documentation.

References

If you don’t have any experience with a particular firewood dealer, then the business you are purchasing from should be willing to offer you the references of their customers whom they have delivered wood or serviced before.

Common problems with a wood dealer

Every law states that the firewood should be sold by a standard set of laws. This is usually enforced by the Department of Agriculture. If you have any concern in regards to the volume of your purchase of wood, you should contact your local forest service department.

Be knowledgeable when buying

When buying firewood, it is essential that you have knowledge about what you are buying. You need to be familiarized enough when you are having conversation with a firewood dealer and you should know what type of firewood you need before you contact a firewood dealer. Below are some important things that should be put into consideration:

Firewood Cord

The cord refers to the measurement of firewood that when neatly rowed and stacked equals to 128 cubic feet. The standard stack basically measures 4 feet wide by 4 feet tall by 8 feet long (which simply means the firewood should be stacked neatly in any way you like but one should make sure that it equals to 128 cubic feet.

Not all wood is the same

Different woods also have different qualities. Oak can create a lasting fire and easily splits. However, oak may be a bit expensive and some other wood species alternative can work just fine. Some wood species are also less dense and can have different coaling and splitting qualities.

Dryness of wood

The more moisture present in the wood, the less heat you will be able to produce from it.  As a matter of fact, it takes energy and time to burn the presence of water of the wood and sometimes it can make a hissing sound. This is supposed to be the energy that should be consumed in warming your house. Generally, this means that the dryer the wood is, the more you will pay for it; but it will be all worth it since you can benefit from it. Below are the indicators if the wood is dry.
-          Color: look for grayness
-          Checks: As the wood dries, it will begin to crack and split on the ends
-          Bark: A definite sign that the firewood is dry is because its bark is falling off the firewood
-          Touch: Fresh cut wood might feel moist on its end

In conclusion, remember to use your head. This is all common sense practices and should be taken with a grain of salt. When in doubt do a little bit of research on the company you plan to purchase firewood from as if they are a bad place then most likely they will have bad reviews online.

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