One of the best things about the summer ending is the fact that it’s finally cool enough for you to curl up in front of raging fire, but before you can do this, you need to make sure that your fireplace and chimney are safe and that you have plenty of firewood on hand. Here are some great tips that will ensure you have plenty of firewood to get through the winter.
Choose Dry Wood
When it comes to firewood, the drier it is, the better it will burn. When you burn wet wood, the fire will produce more smoke than heat. If you’re new to firewood, you’ll be surprised by just how much time it takes to properly cure and dry the wood. It retains water for a very long time. The wood you plan on burning this year should have been cut at least a year ago and it should have been stored in a place that provided maximum exposure to sunlight and airflow.
Another perk to making sure you’re only working with dry wood is that it’s much easier to handle than wood that still retains moisture.
When wood is dry enough to be used as firewood it will have a gray cast and sound hollow when the pieces are clunked together. You’ll also find that you can easily pry the bark from the interior wood.
Stick to This Type of Firewood
If you’re purchasing your firewood from someone rather than cutting it yourself, there are a few things you will want to keep in mind. Only purchase firewood when you can confirm that it was stored in an area that was dry and provided the firewood with a good opportunity to dry completely. You should inspect the wood carefully and make sure that most of the pieces are free of mold, fungus, and insects.
The person suppling your firewood will most likely sell the wood in a unit of measurement that’s called a cord. When you purchase a single cord of wood you should be getting a pile of wood that adds up to 128 feet. Most people stack their firewood in a manner that a single cord measures four feet by four feet. The cost of the cord will depend on how dry the wood is, what type of wood you’re purchasing, and the area you live in.
The type of hardwood that makes ideal firewood includes:
If you prefer to burn softwood, stick to:
- Douglas Fir
Forging for Firewood
Buying firewood is just one of the ways you can get firewood. Even if you don’t have any wooded land of your own, there are some state parks that will allow you to forage for your firewood supply. This is a great way to enjoy a long day outside and get lots of exercise while also saving you the purchase price of firewood. Before you start to forage, make sure you check with the park management and learn what the rules are for bringing firewood off the property.
When most people forge for firewood, they pick pieces off the ground, but if you see a low hanging limb that’s obviously dead, you should be able to pull it down. Not only does this supply you with wood, but it also prevents the limb from doing any damage to the surrounding trees during a storm. Make sure none of the pieces you’re bringing time have mold or insects on them.
Storing your Wood
Since you’re not getting your firewood home and tossing it directly into your fireplace, you need to have a system in place to make sure it’s properly stored. If at all possible, you should store your wood indoors which will keep it dry and reduce the amount of rodents that take up residence in the stack. If indoor storage isn’t possible, place it on pallets that will keep it off the damp ground and keep the pile covered with a heavy tarp. Make sure the firewood has been stacked in a criss cross pattern which not only keeps the pile stable, but also provides plenty of ventilation that will help the wood continue to dry.
You’ll be amazed by how much enjoyment and heat you get out of your firewood during this upcoming winter.