If you have a wood burning fireplace or stove, you may wonder if there is anything of significance that you can do to maintain the efficiency, safety, and health of your appliance. The answer is yes! By choosing the best firewood to burn in your appliance, you can protect your chimney or stovepipe from rapid creosote build-up and your home from dangerous chimney fires. Not only this, but the right firewood will help you to create fires that are warmer and more enjoyable.
Regardless of the type of woodburning appliance you own, you should only burn seasoned firewood. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, the distinction between seasoned and unseasoned firewood is its moisture content. Seasoned firewood has a low moisture content, usually between 20 and 25 %. Unseasoned firewood, on the other hand, can have a moisture content as high as 45 %. Burning firewood with a higher moisture content can cause you and your chimney a number of problems, from the unpleasant to the dangerous. You will have trouble enjoying your chimney if you burn unseasoned firewood because of the unpleasant smell and smoke it produces. However, your biggest concern is that the water in unseasoned firewood will allow for creosote to rapidly build up in your chimney. Creosote is highly flammable, creating a hazard for chimney fires, and can build up into glazed creosote, which can only be removed from your chimney by a professional with chemicals.
If you chop your own firewood, it is easy to know if it is seasoned or unseasoned. Simply be sure to cut your firewood to length six months before you plan to use it in order to give water in the wood time to environment. Cutting your wood to length opens up the microscopic tubes in the wood that hold water, which allows the water to escape.
If you buy your firewood, it is a little more difficult to tell if your firewood has been properly seasoned. The best way to be sure your firewood has been properly seasoned is to buy it six months before you intend to use it and store it properly. However, seasoned and unseasoned firewood have characteristics that differentiate them from each other that you can utilize to see if the firewood you are buying has been seasoned. Seasoned firewood has darker ends and more cracks than unseasoned firewood and also tends to be lighter. Seasoned firewood also makes a clunking rather than a thudding noise when it is hit.
Whether or not you buy or chop your firewood, you must be sure that it is properly stored. A wood shed is the best place to store firewood. However, you can also store wood in a sunny location as long as you remember to cover the wood when it rains or snows. No matter where you store it, make sure that air is allowed to circulate to promote evaporation and try to store the wood off of the ground.
Give Hudson Chimney a call if you are unsure if you are burning the correct kind of firewood or if you have concerns regarding creosote build-up. The professionals at Hudson Chimney know how to keep you and your home warm and safe!