Stocking Up on Firewood for Winter

Choose the right firewood for a better burning fire

Choose the right firewood for a better burning fire

Summer has officially ended, and the weather seems to have forgotten about it already. Leaves have already started to turn vibrant yellow, orange and red and many litter the ground already. The wind has a crisp edge to it and the days have shortened significantly. Along with the cold weather, many homeowners are starting to look ahead to the looming winter months by prepping their heating systems. For those who utilize wood-burning stoves, fireplaces and furnaces, this means stocking up on a large supply of good quality wood.

Local Firewood is Better

When you start shopping around for firewood, make sure to stick around your area and ask your suppliers where they receive their wood from. Wood that has travelled long distances may carry nonnative species that could potentially damage or destroy native trees. For example, ash trees all over the country are dying and being cut down because of an ash-boring beetle that was brought over from Asia. It originated in Michigan, but now trees everywhere are dying because people inappropriately moved infested firewood across state borders.

Quality Matters

Now that you know to look around your area only, your next step is to invest your money in the best firewood. First, you need to find out if the wood has been properly dried and seasoned. Wet wood will not burn, and if you choose to keep your wood outside, the moisture will stay in the wood during the winter freezes. You can check for moisture by splitting a piece of wood and feeling for any moisture. Also, wood with cracks in the ends are usually drier than solid pieces without any splits.

Hardwood vs Softwood

Next, consider the species of trees the wood came from. Generally, hardwood trees are best because they are the densest and burn long and hot. They also produce a hot coal bed upon burning, which lengthens the life and heat of the fire. Hardwood tree species include oaks, maples and hickories. Softer woods like birch, pine and spruce burn quickly and do not produce a long lasting coal bed when burned.

Updated stoves and fireplaces now allow for more efficient heating of the less dense woods, so choosing to burn birch or pine wood is now a more viable option. Particularly in the spring and fall, you can opt to burn these softer woods. In addition, burning a wide variety of wood helps save the hardwood species from becoming over-harvested.

Firewood Storage

Once you have decided on the wood you want, store it properly at home to ensure the best burning. Now that it is fall, you should move any firewood to a sheltered outdoor space, preferably close to the house, so you do not have to trek far in the cold winter weather. Do not store large amounts of wood in the home because potential mold growth will contaminate your indoor air with spores. If you have more questions on firewood or your fireplace and chimney, contact  Pozzi Chimney Sweep to speak with an expert.

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