When it comes to the type of fuel you use in your wood burning fireplace, the type of firewood you choose to burn can have a big impact on the quality of your fire. Many people do not realize that having wood that has been properly seasoned is extremely important to your wood burning experience.

What is seasoned wood?

Whether you prefer to burn softwoods or hardwoods, your wood should be seasoned before you use it. A seasoned piece of firewood is wood that has been properly cut and stacked in a manner that allows it to dry. Wood that is seasoned correctly has usually been drying outside in the element for at least six months and preferably a year.

Why does wood need to be seasoned?

Freshly cut wood has a high moisture content of around 45%. Wood with high moisture tends to pop and smoke more. Both of these things are safety issues. Wood that pops can cause sparks or embers to fly out of the firebox and ignite areas around your fireplace. Wood that causes too much smoke can cause rapid creosote buildup on the inside of your chimney, which is also a fire hazard.

Seasoning wood reduces its moisture content to 10 – 20%. This not only makes your wood less smoky but is easier to ignite and it also burns hotter than wood that has not been seasoned.

How do I know if my wood has been seasoned?

You can easily teach yourself to identify good firewood. Here are a few things to look for in the firewood that you use.

  • Cracking at the ends of firewood is a good sign that your firewood is dry.
  • If you bang two pieces of firewood together and they sound hollow, that means they are probably dry. If banging the pieces together makes a dull thud, they are still too wet.
  • Dry wood will feel lighter in comparison to wet wood.

How do I store my wood?

You should always stack your wood off the ground to prevent it from gathering moisture. This can also prevent your wood from rotting. You should try to keep the top of your wood dry with a waterproof tarp to protect it from rain or snow, but keep the side of your stack open to allow airflow to continues seasoning your wood.

Having properly seasoned firewood can make a big difference in how safe and efficient your fires are. If you ever have any questions about the quality of your firewood please don’t hesitate to call one of the chimney and fireplace experts at TN Chimney & Home today!