When the cold months come, your fireplace will play a big role in keeping your home cozy. This will only be possible if you use the right type of firewood. The type of wood also directly impacts the performance of your fireplace and chimney system. The wood you use can determine how cleanly the fireplace burns, and this will show in your cleaning and maintenance bills. Some types of wood can produce bad odors when they are burned. Some people have also found that using the wrong type of firewood leads to excessive smoke and creosote buildup. Just a small amount of information on firewood can add more warmth to your winter nights and possibly save you money as well.
The Water Content
Since trees spend their lifetimes absorbing water, some of this water remains in the wood even after it has been cut. One term you might come across when looking for firewood is ‘seasoned wood’. This refers to wood that has a low water content, and as you would imagine, this burns better. The important thing is that firewood must be cut early, giving the water enough time to evaporate. If the wood has too much water in it, it will take longer to start burning. Some of the drying will be done in the fireplace, so you will be using up some of your heat for this purpose. Therefore, the home will not be as warm as it should be.
Another downside to using wood with too high a moisture content is that it produces more creosote. As more creosote is deposited in the chimney, you will need to have it cleaned more frequently. We don’t mind, but we also like looking out for our customers. You can reduce the number of service calls you make if you use wood that is properly seasoned.
Buying and Storing Firewood
Whether you buy firewood or cut it yourself, you should make sure that it is cut into short lengths. This facilitates the drying process. If the pieces are long, cut them before storing them. Hardwood is a better option than softwood, as it produces more heat, so this clearly offers better value for money. If you have found a reliable supplier, it is best to stick with them if you are happy with the quality of their firewood. One thing is certain, you must agree on the total amount of wood you are supposed to receive, as there has been confusion in some cases.
Remember too that poor storage will damage wood no matter what the quality is like. You should have adequate storage space and the area should be able to keep the wood dry. Keeping it off the ground will help it to stay dry. The wood can easily absorb water, and this will make it difficult to burn. On top of that, you might find that when you are ready to use the wood it has rotted.
Do not assume that any old wood that is not being used will be good for your fireplace. Never break up old furniture, especially if they are painted, to use for this purpose. This type of treated wood will not only produce an odor, it can release harmful chemicals into your home. If you want more information on the best wood for your fireplace, call us at 610-626-2439.