Pozzi Chimney Sweep Blog

Using the Correct Firewood for your Fireplace

Burn the Right Firewood - Aurora IL - Pozzi Chimney SweepWhen you use the correct oil in your car, it’s going to run better. Using the correct sized measuring cup will ensure that your recipe will turn out right. If you’re taking a college class, you’ll definitely want to buy the right book so that you can pass the class. And using the right firewood will make sure that you have a fire that burns clean and hot so that you can enjoy a safe fire that doesn’t get too smoky and that doesn’t contribute to a big buildup of creosote in your chimney.

What to Look For

One of the most important things to look for when you are buying firewood is how dry (seasoned) it is. The dryer the firewood, the hotter the burn. If you try to burn wet firewood, a couple things will happen. First, you’ll get a lot of smoke. When you burn wet firewood, you are basically burning water – and everyone knows that water doesn’t burn, so it’ll be tougher for you to get a fire going and keep it going. Probably one of the most important reasons to make sure you use dry firewood is that using wet firewood will encourage a bigger buildup of creosote, which is a highly flammable substance that can coat the inside of your fireplace.

So, how will you know if firewood is dry? If you cut your own firewood, you can ensure that your firewood is dry by splitting the wood and storing it on pallets, stacking it loosely and leaving it to dry for at least six months, and longer if possible. If you’re buying firewood, look for wood that is grayer in color and that has a less intense wood smell. Also, many times wood that is dry will have cracks in it, especially in the ends. Try hitting two pieces of wood together; dryer wood sounds more hollow than wetter wood and will make a cracking sound rather than a dull sound. Dry wood will be lighter in weight, as well.

Types of Wood

Does the type of wood you burn make a difference? You bet your boots it does! Different types of wood burn differently, so it depends on what type of fire you’re looking for when you’re deciding which type to burn. Harder woods burn longer, so if you’re looking to spend a long evening relaxing in front of a hot fire, you’ll want to burn a hardwood like oak, locust, or hickory. If you don’t have as long to relax but still want to enjoy a short time in front of a nice fire, burn a softer wood, like birch or maple. Softer woods are also good to burn in the spring and the fall, because they won’t burn as hot so you don’t have to worry about overheating your home in the cool, not cold, months.

Ask for Advice

If you have questions about what type of firewood you should be burning, give the experts at Pozzi Chimney Sweeps a call. They can give great advice on just which firewood you should be using.

Selecting the Right Firewood

Have you ever had to buy a present for someone and wanted it to be just the right thing? Or have you had to buy clothes for a very special event, and wanted it to be just the right outfit? And when you’re picking a new vehicle, you definitely want it to be just the right one, because you’ll be driving it for quite awhile. But did you know that there’s also a trick to picking just the right firewood to burn for the cleanest burn with the littlest amount of smoke?

Clean Burning WoodSelecting the Right Firewood Image - Aurora IL - Pozzi Chimney Sweep

When you are selecting wood, it’s a good idea to evaluate what your purpose is. If you’re looking to enjoy a long night in front of a nice, warm fire, consider using oak. Oak produces just this kind of slow, steady burn. But you don’t want to do this all the time, or at least make sure that you burn hot, quickly burning fires frequently in between; this type of fire will help burn out small amounts of creosote build up. Birch wood makes a quick-burning, hot fire and would be excellent for this purpose.

Hardwoods produce a long-lasting, low maintenance fire, which means you can spend more time with your family enjoying the fire. Some hardwoods you might consider burning would be maple, hickory, elm, or beech. These will make excellent fires, but they may take a little time to get started. The fire you get for the work is definitely worth the time it takes to get the fire going.

Smokeless Fire

Another thing to be concerned about is the amount of smoke that is produced by your fire. Although different types of wood produce different amounts of smoke, the biggest factor when it comes to smoke production is how dry the wood is. Most woods need a considerable drying time in order to get down to a low enough moisture content to burn a fire that produces a small amount of smoke. Freshly cut wood has a very high moisture content; the first water to leave the wood after it has been cut is the “free water” which is stored in the tiny fibrous tubes of the tree. Once this water leaves, the water content of your wood will be at around 30%; ideally, the water content of the wood should be at around 20% in order for it to be at its optimum burn. This process can take at least six months; longer dry time ensures dryer wood. Not only with this produce less smoke, it will also produce less creosote, so you won’t have to worry about this build-up as soon.

Cleaning Your Chimney

Although burning the right wood will make creosote build up less quickly, there’s really no way to stop creosote from building up. The only way to ensure that your chimney is creosote free is to have your chimney cleaned on an annual basis by a qualified company like Pozzi Chimney Sweep. Call them today to schedule before the fall rush!

Proper Storage of Firewood

There’s nothing quite like the satisfaction you feel after spending an afternoon chopping and splitting firewood. It’s a hot, sweaty job, but the thought of the crackling, cozy fires you will be enjoying on those cold winter nights is well worth the effort. But improper storage of all that firewood can cause problems you don’t want to deal with.

Seasoned FirewoodProper Firewood Storage - Aurora IL - Pozzi Chimney Sweep

Whether you are cutting the wood yourself or buying pre-cut wood for your fireplace, you want to make sure that the wood has been seasoned, or dried, for a proper length of time. According to firewood.com, firewood that is not dry will burn poorly or not burn at all. Firewood needs to be dried for six months to a year to ensure a good fire. You can tell if your firewood is ready to burn in a couple of ways. First, look at it. Seasoned wood should be greyish and dry looking, and could have cracks or splits in the ends. Seasoned wood is also more light-weight than fresh wood. When you hit two pieces of wood together, seasoned wood should make a dull thunking noise.

Buy or Cut Your Firewood Early

Although these indicators can be used to determine if your firewood is properly seasoned, the best way to know is to buy or cut your firewood early in the spring before you intend to use it. If you do this, you will need to use proper storage techniques.

Where to Store Your Woodpile

It would seem logical to pile your firewood right next to the house for easy access. Who wants to go too far out in the cold in the subzero temperatures, right? Fight this temptation. Wood piles hold a natural attraction for insects and animals; the closer to your house your wood pile is located, the more likely that these critters will find their way into your home. If you do wish to have some wood next to your house, make it no more than a two week supply. According to Home Guides, it is wise to keep your woodpile at least 30 feet from your home.
It is also important to keep your woodpile dry. If your wood lays on the wet ground, it can become moldy or infested with bugs, and it will soon become worthless. Stacking your woodpile in between trees, under a canopy, or under a roof can help alleviate this problem. It can also help to stack your wood on a pallet to keep it off the moist ground. If you don’t have a place to put your firewood that’s under cover, you can place a tarp loosely over the pile, but don’t wrap it tightly or cover the ends – it is important that air can continue to flow through the woodpile to help keep the firewood dry.

How to Stack Firewood

When stacking your firewood, be sure to allow for airflow to reduce moisture entering the wood. Firewood-for-life recommends stacking the first layer of wood side by side, tightly enough to keep the woodpile stable, but not so tightly that air can’t flow freely. Tree bark provides a natural water barrier, so when stacking firewood, place it bark-side-up on the upside of the pile, and bark-side-down if it is coming in contact with the ground.

Proper storage of your woodpile will ensure a fire that burns hot, which will help keep your chimney clean and safe. However, yearly inspections and cleanings are still necessary, so remember to schedule these using a CSIA certified sweep, like the professionals at Pozzi Chimney Sweep, Inc.

Signs of Seasoned Firewood – Buy Now For Fall

There are several signs of well seasoned firewood. Learn more here!

There are several signs of well seasoned firewood. Learn more here!

When the weather starts to cool down and heaters start to click on those of us with wood burning fireplaces start getting ready to enjoy the warmth of a crackling wood fire. Most fireplace owners understand the importance of having a yearly chimney inspection and cleaning performed but a surprising number of them still don’t understand the importance of choosing the right kind of firewood. If you’re burning wet, green, or improperly seasoned wood it can be undoing all the work your chimney sweep has done and will make your fires less efficient and less enjoyable as well.

What Is Seasoned Firewood?

Seasoned firewood is wood that has been cut more than a year and stored in a cool dry place to allow for the majority of the moisture and saps to evaporate. If the wood was cut over a year ago but not stored properly it is not properly seasoned wood. The point of allowing wood to season is to let it become as dry as possible. This decreases the production of creosote and other byproducts that are created during combustion. If you burn green or wet wood in a fireplace these byproducts will be deposited on the inside of your chimney as the smoke rises up the flue and cools. These byproducts are organic material so they are flammable. If enough creosote builds up on the inside of your chimney it can cause a dangerous chimney fire.

How Can I Tell If The Firewood I’m Buying Is Seasoned Properly?

The easiest way to ensure that your wood is properly seasoned is to season it yourself. Buy it a year in advance and store it in a cool dry place away from rain and snow. Do not store wood under a tarp to keep it safe from precipitation because it can prevent the moisture that is already in the wood from properly escaping, especially if this tarp sits in direct sunlight.

Of course if you don’t have the space or resources to properly store and season your own wood there are some tell-tale signs that you count on to ensure that the wood you are purchasing has been seasoned.

The Bark

If wood has been seasoned the bark will begin to lose its hold on the wood and may have fallen off all together. If there is still bark it should be completely dry and (depending on the type of tree it came from) may be crumbling off to the touch.

The Coloration

The ends of a piece of seasoned wood are usually darker in color and will have begun to develop cracks. These are not cracks from the process of splitting or cutting the wood but rather cracks that have formed during the drying process.

The Sound

If you knock 2 pieces of seasoned wood together at the ends they should produce a slightly hollow-sounding “thunk” sound as opposed to green or wet wood which will be very solid and not produce that particular sound.

Burning the proper fuel is part of the responsible operation of your wood burning appliance. When it comes to the safety and efficiency of your appliance it can make all the difference. If you ever have questions about your wood supply or the appliance it is being used in contact Pozzi Chimney Sweep! We’re here to help!