How to Choose the Best Firewood

by | Oct 27, 2016 | Fireplace Maintenance

Right Firewood Image - Raleigh NC - Mr. SmokestackSo you have your dream fireplace. It’s everything you imagine. You chose the perfect appliance, insert, or fireplace, had it professionally installed, inspected, and forward-scheduled all of your upcoming maintenance. Winter is coming and this will be a piece of cake, you think.

While you are preparing for winter it’s important to remember that no matter how many great reviews your appliance has, no matter how clean the chimney, no matter what type of design or style of your appliance, it will not be at its best if you don’t choose the right wood. In fact, it’s not only the efficiency that can be affected by poor fuel type, but it can also affect the safety of your entire chimney system.

Cutting Your Own Wood

If you have access to a forest from which you can cut firewood, it makes more sense to cut your own wood. It’s important to choose trees that are appropriate for your use. For instance, if you choose hard woods, they have to be seasoned longer than softer wood. Wood is adequately seasoned when it has been cut and set aside for at least six months, but sometimes longer if the wood comes from a tree with denser wood than others. Ideally homeowners would begin cutting firewood in the spring for the following burn season. There are a few techniques employed by homeowners to keep the wood dry while waiting for it to be seasoned.

  • Keep the wood stored in a dry building such as a shed, porch, or under a carport.
  • Store the wood bark-down on the bottom layer if it’s a wet climate. This protects the wood from the constant wetness from the ground.
  • You can also store the wood on top of the pile with its bark facing up so that the the wood beneath is protected from moisture.


Purchasing Your Wood Locally

If you don’t have ready access to your own firewood source, the room to store wood for 3-6 months, or the equipment to do the work you may need to purchase your wood from a local source. It’s important to get your wood locally especially in counties and states that don’t allow cut and split wood to cross county and state lines. It’s also important to have a look at the operation you’re buying from. Look at the wood before making your payment. When wood is properly seasoned it should begin cracking, pull away from the bark, and transform into a gray color. There are also moisture detectors on the market that indicate when wood is safe to burn.

While you’re at it, find out if the wood is “hard wood” or “soft wood” which will be important when it’s time to heat your home. Each wood type burns differently, but hard and soft woods should both be well-seasoned. When you choose properly seasoned wood you will have an easier time lighting your fire, you will experience less creosote buildup in your chimney, higher efficiency, and less smoke issues.

To learn more about choosing the best firewood for your fireplace or appliance by clicking here. You can also ask us at Mr. Smokestack Chimney Service at your convenience. Our sweeps are certified, experienced, and always professional. Call us, or contact us online today.

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