Stock Up on “Seasoned” Wood
What is seasoned wood? According to the CSIA, seasoned wood is wood that has a moisture content between 20-25%. The low moisture content of the wood is what makes seasoned wood the perfect fuel: It burns cleaner, brighter, and much hotter than wood with a higher moisture content, which means you won’t have to get your chimney swept unexpectedly during peak season.
So where can you find seasoned wood? Usually a quick Google search will turn up some local sellers. If not, ask a friend who burns where they get their wood from.
If you’re a do-it-yourself kind of person, prep anywhere between 6 months to a year in advance by chopping your own wood and stacking it in to piles of 4’ high by 4’ wide by 8’ long. Each 4’ by 4’ by 8’ pile is also known as a “cord” of wood. Leave the wood out in the sun and wind, only covering the piles with tarps if it is raining. By the time wood burning season starts, you should have perfectly seasoned wood.
Added Bonus: By stacking to these measurements, you will be able to determine if it is time to have your chimney swept. The CSIA recommends having your chimney swept after you have gone through at least one cord of wood, or if you notice a 1/8 of an inch of creosote build-up.
Tip: Do not burn “green” wood. Green wood is wood that is freshly cut and has a high moisture content (>25%). Why is this a problem? The more moisture that the wood contains, the dirtier it burns and the more smoke it creates. Not only that, but higher moisture content also means that you will receive less heat from the wood and you’ll have to put in more work in order to maintain the fire.
If you burn a ton of green wood, creosote deposits will build up much faster and you might end up having to call a chimney sweep mid-season, or worse, you could end up having a chimney fire due to creosotes high flammability. For the same reasons, do not burn trash or wrapping paper in your fireplace and DO NOT let the fire go past the damper opening.
Is YOUR Chimney Safe?
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