Did you know you can get a jump on gathering firewood now so it isn’t so expensive later in the winter months? Enjoy a nice warm, romantic fire any time throughout the year without worrying that your winter stash will be depleted. We haven’t really covered this in the blog for a few months, so today we’re going to talk about how to select, buy, and store firewood throughout the year.

Buying Local Firewood

Look for local stands that sell seasoned firewood. You can usually find them alongside country roads and sometimes even at a farmer’s market. You may also have luck perusing online yard sale sites or Craigslist.org. Look for wood that is within an hour from home, or whatever driving distance you prefer. Buying local firewood means you’re supporting local workers and therefore supporting our local economy. It’s a win-win.

Seasoned Firewood

Always ask how well seasoned the wood is before you buy it. You’re ideally looking for wood that has seasoned for at least six months to a year. This means it will be dryer and burn much cleaner than wet or green wood. You may also choose to purchase green wood, or wet wood, and allow it to season on your property. Make sure you have at least six months to let it dry (season) before you use it. Wet wood holds approximately 40% water. Well seasoned wood only has about 20% moisture content. There is a device you can purchase to test the amount of moisture in wood.

The fibers in wood are actually microscopic tubes that were previously used by the tree to transport water from the roots to the leaves. When water is still present inside the tubes, and you smack two pieces of firewood together, you’ll hear a dull thud noise. When the water has left the wood, and you smack two pieces together, it will make a clear clunk noise instead. This is a surefire way to determine whether the wood is seasoned well.

Storing Firewood

Seasoned firewood is an excellent source of heat on a cold winter night, but don’t let your nice dry firewood sit in the rain or snow. It will absorb the water and make it unfit to burn until it is allowed to dry once again. Always keep firewood covered to prevent water from becoming an issue.

Quick Tips

You may be able to purchase a large amount of green firewood at an excellent price. You can store it in a warm, dry place for about six months to let it season to perfection. This is a wonderful money-saving option for many homeowners who have space to accommodate large amounts of wood.

Don’t ever burn construction scraps, treated, or painted wood in the fireplace. The chemicals they’re treated with are very dangerous when inhaled. They often contain things such as arsenic and other toxins.

Learn which types of wood produce the most heat. Organize the wood pile so you can burn hotter fires during the coldest months and lighter wood during the months that aren’t quite as cold.

Schedule a chimney and fireplace inspection at least once per year. Many homeowners schedule the inspection and cleaning on the same day that they change the batteries in the smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector. Some schedule them for the first day of spring or their first three-day weekend of the summer. When you schedule yours, make it a date you’ll remember year after year.