When it comes to your fireplace, you want to have a warm, safe, and pleasant experience. A smoky fireplace is not pleasant. Burning more wood than you have to is not either. It’s important to burn the right type of wood in your fireplace. Properly seasoned wood keeps your fire burning hot, keeps your chimney working properly, and keeps your family safe.
Properly Seasoned Wood
Wood is properly seasoned when it only has 20 percent water content. When trees are cut down, they are filled with water 50 to 75 percent. This wood is considered wet, or green. In order to season properly, the wood should be cut into the lengths appropriate for your fireplace. The water is stored inside the trees in long tubes, and if these tubes aren’t cut into pieces, this water will not dry. Cutting the tree allows for air to circulate around the wood, helping with the drying process. As it dries, you can check it for the following signs for dryness: graying in color, pulling from bark, cracking (or checks) on edges, sound hollow when hit together, burns easily and warm.
Burning Wet Wood
When you burn green or wet wood, you put your chimney through more work than necessary. The wood doesn’t burn as easily, is harder to maintain high temperatures, and makes it more difficult for smoke to rise up the chimney. Additionally, green wood releases more creosote than seasoned wood, resulting in more frequent chimney sweeps for the homeowner. It can cause smoky chimneys, lower heat output, and releases more particulate pollution into the air contributing to environmental concerns.
Finding the Right Wood
Not all wood is created equal, even when it’s dry. Some species of trees are hard and should be seasoned for 6-12 months, while softer trees only need 6 months at most. Harder woods burn better, sustaining temperatures and fire longer, while softer woods burn faster and hotter. If you only have access to softer species of trees, you will manage to stay warm. If you aren’t happy with your wood selection or do not have your own trees to cut from, you can purchase firewood from local suppliers. Don’t spend too much on firewood. It sells by the rank and should be seasoned and appropriate for burning. You should always see the wood before you pay.
When you have seasoned firewood ready to burn, you are ready for winter. Burning the right wood is safer, warmer, and saves you money–especially if you’re buying wood. It can take up to three times the amount of green wood to reach the same temperature seasoned firewood maintains. Don’t waste your resources, your time, or spend your winter shivering.
If you’ve been burning green firewood, you should schedule a service appointment, to ensure your chimney system is in good condition for burn season. Brickliners offers inspections and sweeps year-round. Schedule now or call 802-872-0123.