Proper seasoning of wood is necessary for it to kindle and burn properly. Unfortunately, more firewood is burned than is seasoned, which presents fire-related hazards.
There are two primary ways that firewood can be seasoned, simply drying it and using chemicals to season it. Simply drying the wood depends on it to fully dry, while chemicals include acidic, alkaline, and salts.
Generally, wood can be seasoned using one of three methods. They are oven drying, outside drying, and kiln drying. Each of these methods has its own pros and cons, which should be weighed.
Oven drying is the least expensive and slowest method, but it requires the most work. It requires all wood to be stacked and monitored for two weeks, after which time, it can be burned. Outside drying is quicker, but requires better weather, while kiln drying is quicker but more expensive.
Here are some ways to ensure firewood is properly seasoned before burning.
1. Choose the Right Firewood
The best woods for burning are hardwoods like oak, ash, hickory, and maple. These woods burn slowly and produce more heat, making them ideal for a long-lasting and warm fire. Softwoods such as pine and spruce, on the other hand, burn quickly and are best used for kindling.
In order to ensure that your firewood is properly seasoned before burning, it’s important to purchase firewood that is at least one year old. This will give the wood the time it needs to dry out and become more combustible.
One way to tell if your firewood is properly seasoned is by looking at the color of the wood. Firewood that has been properly seasoned will have a grayish color. Firewood that is still green will contain too much moisture to burn effectively and will produce more smoke than heat.
When purchasing firewood, look for wood that is cut into manageable chunks of uniform size. The wood should also be free from any dirt, dust, and debris that can accumulate when it is left outside for too long.
Make sure that the firewood you purchase is from a reliable source (such as vedora in Norway). Firewood from a reputable dealer will be properly dried and will be of higher quality than firewood from a less reliable source.
2. Store the Firewood in a Dry Place
The best way to store your firewood is to keep it in a shed, garage, or another covered area. This will help keep the firewood from getting wet and keep it from absorbing moisture. It’s also important to make sure that the area is well-ventilated so that moisture can escape. Make sure that the area is not prone to flooding or water damage and that the cover you use is waterproof.
Another important step in properly seasoning your firewood is to use a log rack. A log rack keeps the logs off the ground and prevents them from getting soaked by standing water. It also helps keep the logs in a neat and organized manner, which makes it easier to access the wood when it’s time to burn it.
It’s also important to store the wood in a way that allows air to circulate throughout it. Never pile the logs too tightly together, as this can cause the firewood to become damp and difficult to burn. Stacking the firewood with enough space between the logs will help keep the wood dry and evenly seasoned.
It’s important to regularly inspect your firewood. Make sure that the wood is free of rot and insect damage, as these can both affect the quality of the wood and make it difficult to burn. If the firewood needs to be replaced, make sure to find a supplier of seasoned firewood and store it in a dry place until you’re ready to use it.
3. Split the Firewood
When you split the firewood, the smaller pieces are exposed to more air, allowing the moisture to evaporate faster and making the firewood easier to burn. This process, known as seasoning, helps reduce smoke and creosote buildup in your chimney and fireplace.
Splitting firewood does require a certain level of skill and safety. To get started, you’ll need some basic equipment, including an axe, a splitting maul, and a pair of safety glasses.
When you’re ready to begin, make sure you have a sturdy, level surface to work on. This will give you the best leverage for splitting the wood. Place the logs in the center of the cutting surface and use the splitting maul to split them in half. Then, use the axe to further divide each split log into the desired size. It’s important to use even pressure when splitting the firewood to avoid damaging the axe or maul.
4. Stack the Firewood
When it comes to stacking firewood, the best way to do it is in a crisscross pattern with the end of each piece facing outward. This will help the air to circulate and will speed up the seasoning process. Additionally, it will make it easier to access the wood when you need it as it will be more organized.
It is important to note that you should only stack the firewood in a dry area where it will not be subject to moisture or dampness. If you stack your firewood in an area that is prone to moisture, it can lead to mold or mildew and make the wood unusable.
Another important factor to consider when stacking the firewood is the size of the pieces. Make sure that the pieces are not too large as this can lead to them becoming unstable and falling over. The pieces should also be roughly the same size and shape so that they stack evenly and securely.
When stacking the firewood, make sure to keep the bottom layer as level as possible. This will ensure that the firewood is stable and won’t topple over. It is also important to leave enough space between the layers of wood so that the air can circulate
5. Cover the Stack
One of the best ways to ensure that your firewood is properly seasoned is to cover the stack. This will not only keep the wood dry, but it will also help to protect the wood from the weather.
When you are covering the stack, make sure that you use a tarp or other waterproof covering. You don’t want the tarp to be too tight, however, as this could trap moisture and might lead to the formation of mold or mildew.
For the best results, you should let the firewood stack sit for a few weeks before you start to use it. This will give the wood time to properly season before it is used, and will help to make sure that the firewood is ready to be burned.
It is important to season firewood properly before burning it in order to reduce the risk of fire-related hazards. There are several ways to accomplish this, including oven drying, outside drying, and kiln drying. To ensure the firewood is properly seasoned, it is important to consider the pros and cons of each method and determine which one is best suited to your needs. With the right combination of knowledge, preparation, and care, anyone can ensure that the firewood they are burning is properly seasoned and ready to go.