Well-seasoned wood will yield considerably more heat than wet wood. In fact, that’s another reason why seasoned logs are more environmentally friendly than wet logs. Also, good quality firewood is arguably more carbon neutral when compared to fossil fuels. It is for sure the better type of wood to buy and to burn. Good quality wood burns for longer, which means that it will be a while before you have to purchase any more. One of the many benefits to buying your wood in the summer is the price of the wood logs. Not a lot of people require wood to burn in their stoves during summer so therefore the supply and demand for wood will be much more fair.
Hardwoods work great for a long lasting overnight burn. But softwoods work well for kindling. Or quickly lighting a fire in the morning because they start easily. This will also in turn make them much better value for money for you too.
Make sure you buy dry wood
The most important thing to remember is that firewood needs to be fully dry before it’s ready to burn. The standard that appliance manufacturers work to allows for wood fuel between 12% – 20% moisture content. This small amount of moisture moderates the combustion process and liberates the right amount of heat energy to the room in accordance with the appliance design. To give you a rough idea how much moisture wood contains once its cut, a 1kg freshly cut log could contain around 500-600ml of water i.e. around one pint of water. This is why it can take up to 2 years to allow wood to dry sufficiency and be ready to burn.
Collecting your own firewood for burning
Firewood should be left to dry for a minimum of 12-18 months before being used. To dry wet logs, split logs into smaller pieces and leave logs into a suitable wood store to accelerate drying process. Make sure the top of wood store is covered to keep moisture out. Keep sides open to promote air flow and speed up the drying process. Do not store your wood against a house as this slows down drying and may cause pest problems. Check your product instructions for the optimum size of wood you should be using.
To identify well-seasoned wood, check the ends of the logs. If they are dark in colour and cracked, they are dry. Dry seasoned wood is lighter in weight than wet wood and makes a hollow sound when hitting two pieces together. If there is any green colour visible or bark is hard to peel, the log is not yet dry. It is recommended to purchase a wood moisture meter, to help you see when your wood is ready. Take a selection of logs from your seasoned wood pile and split them, so that you can take moisture readings from inside the log as well as the outside.
If the moisture content is 20% or below, the wood is seasoned and ready top burn. There are many different types of wood that all burn differently and have various qualities. For example, softwoods like cedar and pine create shorter burning, more intense flames whilst hardwood such as oak and cherry beech burn slower longer and are more effective for colder evenings. Never burn construction timber, painted, impregnated / treated wood, manufactured board products or pallet wood. These can release harmful fumes and may also damage your appliance.
Always try to buy firewood by volume. Don’t buy wood by weight. Why? Some logs have a higher moisture content. It means they’ll be heavier and therefore you probably won’t get exactly the quantity you expect. Where possible, try to buy in cubic metres. Most suppliers will sell firewood by the bag or load. Always ask the size. Knowing the size will help you to calculate how long the amount of firewood you’re buying will last. You never know you might need much more or much less than you originally thought. Top tip: bag sizes can vary enormously. A standard bag size for one retailer might not be the same for another. If you’re buying firewood from more than one retailer, always check their bag sizes.
The size of the logs you buy
Is the source of the wood coming from a sustainable one?
It seems like a rather backwards idea to call winter a comfortable season. It can be cold, long, and certainly, a lot of time spent indoors but there are a lot of benefits of staying dry and warm inside. You can save money, read books, develop some personal skills on your own and enjoy some peace and quiet. What you need to know before winter hits are the ins and outs of buying the perfect firewood to help keep you nice and toasty all year long. Not every piece of firewood is the same so it is important that you understand how useful it is to know what types there are, how to properly set up a fire, and other necessities for a warm winter. Here is your ultimate guide for the best winter fire you can have.