As the saying goes, “To everything there is a season.” That’s true for firewood, too. Even though summer is upon us, selecting and seasoning firewood now will bring benefits next fall and winter. Using seasoned firewood will improve the performance of your fireplace or stove. It is not too early to begin seasoning your firewood. On the contrary: you need all the time between now and heating season to properly season your firewood.
We know about wood and how to burn it at Northeastern Fireplace & Design.
First, what do we mean by “seasoned firewood”? Well, we know it does not mean adding sea salt and cracked pepper to your wood. Seasoning your firewood means drying it out, and not via industrial-strength hair dryers! It takes time.
Seasoned firewood has approximately 20 percent moisture content. It has several important characteristics and features that affect combustion. For one thing, seasoned firewood tends to light more easily, and it burns more readily and efficiently. When it burns, there’s less creosote buildup and less smoke.
Your choice of the type of seasoned firewood also affects the quality and type of fire you have in your fireplace or stove. It is wise to use hardwoods such as oak, hickory, and elm because hardwoods produce a longer-lasting fire.
How do you season firewood? Generally speaking, stack it and dry it for at least six months before you burn it in your fireplace or wood-burning stove. Many people like to season their firewood for a full year. Some say you can season firewood in only three months, but that’s pushing the limit for the minimum.
Sun and wind are you strongest allies when it comes to seasoning your firewood. Knowing that, pile your chopped firewood in a place where the sun’s rays can warm it and the wind can blow.
Space the rows enough apart so that sun and wind can do their work. Consider putting the wood on a raised platform.
Northeastern Fireplace & Design suggests you cover the wood you are seasoning with a tarp or plastic. But that can be tricky. To take full advantage of the drying effects of wind and sun, consider leaving the wood fully exposed during the day. If the forecast calls for clear weather, you might leave the wood open and uncovered in the daytime. If there’s a chance of rain, you can cover it.
But time is your biggest factor in seasoning wood, even more than wind and sun. Allowing ample time for firewood seasoning is your greatest assurance of success. It’s sort of a reversal of marinating. Both require time and patience.
The professionals at Northeastern Fireplace & Design are eager to share their experiences, and those of our many customers over the years, regarding firewood seasoning. We enjoy the conversation.
Northeastern Fireplace & Design has trained professionals ready to offer expert advice and guidance. Contact us online anytime or call (518) 767-9314.
Come on in and talk firewood, this season or any season.