You may have heard that local seasoned firewood is the best kind of fuel for your wood-burning fireplace or stove, and, maybe, you do not even really know what seasoned firewood is. Even if you do know that this type of firewood has been dried for at least six months since it was cut, you may still wonder why it is so important to use. At Mr. Smokestack Chimney Service, we recommend our customers buy seasoned firewood from a local wood dealer or even cut and dry the wood themselves. We would like to share with you more about local seasoned firewood and its importance.
What is the Difference Between Seasoned and Freshly-Cut Wood?
Even though all wood contains water, seasoned wood has a 20% moisture content, which is significantly lower than freshly-cut wood’s 45% water content, according to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA).
Why is It So Essential to Use Seasoned Firewood over Freshly-Cut Firewood?
Burning wood with a high water content can cause serious damage to your chimney and even to you and your family. Minor problems include smoke and odor issues, but the main reason why you should not burn wet, freshly-cut wood is because it leads to a rapid and large amount of creosote deposits. Creosote is a natural compound which is formed during the condensation process that occurs when the by-products of combustion, such as smoke, gases, vapors, tar fog, and other various minerals, exit the cooler walls of your upper chimney. Burning wet wood leads to creosote production because the heat of your fire must burn off all of the water in the wood, which uses a lot of energy. This causes less heat to your home as well as quickly creates a large amount of creosote to build up on your chimney walls.
Why Does Mr. Smokestack Recommend the Seasoned Firewood Be Local?
If you buy your firewood from a local wood dealer, you can generally trust he has cut and seasoned the wood himself or he knows who did cut and season the firewood. It is the best way to be sure you are not wasting money buying “seasoned” firewood that is still wet. Your best way of knowing your firewood is truly seasoned is to cut and dry the wood yourself.
What are the Best Ways to Properly Store Seasoned Firewood?
The most important thing to remember when storing seasoned wood is how essential it is to keep it dry. You do not want to ruin your good firewood by leaving it uncovered and exposed to rain and snow. The best storage area is a wood shed with a roof to keep the rain and snow away, a floor at least 6 inches above the ground to keep the wood off the ground where it will absorb more moisture, and open walls to let air circulate around the wood to help the drying process.