Using the right firewood in your chimney is one of the easiest ways to have a direct impact on the performance and care of your chimney. Properly seasoned firewood not only allows your chimney to burn hotter and cleaner, but it also reduces the amount of creosote build up, which could lead to dangerous house fires. With these simple tips, you will be able to pick the best firewood for your chimney.
Basics of Seasoned Firewood
Seasoned firewood is cut sections of wood that have been set aside for about 6 – 12 months. Wet, or green wood, is freshly cut wood that is full of moisture. Freshly cut wood can be up to 45% water, while seasoned firewood generally is about 20-25%. The problem with green wood is that the heat from the system must be used to evaporate the moisture before the firewood can begin burning. This process is not only inefficient but also creates a very acidic smoke, which leads to creosote build up. Logs take longer to ignite and your home will not be as warm when you use wet wood. Seasoned wood, however, ignites quickly and burns cleanly. It also produces more heat, which means less money spent on energy bills.
Signs of Seasoned Wood
There are a few indicators you can use to tell if your wood is seasoned and ready for use. Green wood is heavier and tends to smell damp because of the extra moisture. The ends also look freshly cut and don’t show much splitting. When you tap on green wood it makes more of a “thud” sound. Seasoned wood, on the other hand, makes more of a “clunk” sound when two pieces are knocked together. It also has cracks on the ends and is quite a bit lighter in weight. Seasoned wood is much lighter in color, and the bark peels away easily from the wood.
Storing Seasoned Wood
If you purchase green wood that you plan on using the following winter, you will need to be sure you are storing it properly. Wood should be placed off of the ground where air can circulate through it. Many people use firewood racks to achieve this. It is very important that wind and sun can reach the firewood so that it will begin the drying process. You want to keep it free of any moisture such as rain, snow, and sleet. You will need to cover it with a waterproof tarp when these conditions are present, but remove the tarp on fair days to encourage the drying process. You might also consider storing the wood pile away from your house because it can attract termites.
Ensuring your firewood is properly seasoned will help you increase the efficiency of your heating system and protect you from dangerous house fires. If you haven’t had your chimney inspected this year or have been burning green firewood, give us a call to set up an appointment!