Homeowners that have been burning wood for several years are probably familiar with the term ‘seasoned firewood’. New homeowners, however, and those who have a newly installed wood fireplace or stove might not know that seasoned firewood is the only fuel that should be burned in the fireplace.
Dryness, Density, and Age of Wood
Wood can be hard or soft, and this is often a good indication of how the wood will burn and how long until it is seasoned. Seasoned wood is not freshly cut; it is cut and set aside for several months until it is dry. The average soft wood should be set aside and left to dry for six months. Hard woods can take much longer.
Why Does it Matter?
Seasoned wood is best for your fireplace because it burns completely and has little moisture in it. When you burn wood that is too freshly cut it can have a lot of moisture inside which releases water vapor into the chimney. This water vapor is a problem by itself, but unseasoned wood also doesn’t burn as quickly or as efficiently as seasoned wood which causes the draft to struggle to move up the chimney. When the fire doesn’t burn hot enough to move the vapors up the chimney, the soot and water vapors cling to the flue walls. This adds to the creosote buildup.
Your Wood Supply
It’s important to know where your wood comes from. If you have access to your own wood supply, you have the power to cut and set aside your own wood, maybe inside a building. However, if you have to buy your wood you should be certain that it comes from a good source, is a good quality wood, and is seasoned. You can check that your wood is seasoned by looking it over before you make your purchase.
Signs of seasoned wood are:
- Natural cracking
- Bark pulling away or detaching from the wood
- Dull, graying color
- Weak odor
- Weighs less than freshly cut wood
If you are still unsure about the wood you’d like to purchase, there are also firewood moisture meters which you can purchase and take with you when you go to look at the wood. If the wood measures less than 20% moisture, then it is suitable for burning in your fireplace.
Wood and Only Wood
It’s not enough that you burn seasoned wood. You should ONLY burn wood in your fireplace. Burning trash, leaves, and other debris can raise risk of flue fire as well as lower efficiency. You want your fireplace to work at it’s best to have higher heat output, and to burn less wood, and have a steadier temperature.
Remember that Brickliners is available to answer all of your fireplace and chimney questions or concerns. You can call Brickliners at 802-872-0123 or request an appointment online.