The heart of winter has arrived and keeping warm, as always, is a priority. When outside, dressing in layers is always important but have you ever considered that there is a similar process that can be incorporated to heat your home? Everyone seems to know that layers and covering the body’s extremities - head, hands, and feet are important, especially when the wind is howling and cold weather approaches but what steps are needed to ensure the firewood you have collected is ready to produce a sufficient heat source for the particular area needed.
Even for homeowners who have central heating and air, an alternative heat source can be extremely beneficial. Not only will having the capability to provide heat via a wood fire benefit your pocketbook by lowering the electric bill but it can also provide warmth should the power ever be out, or just allow for a different feel - one that is warm and inviting - inside the home throughout the winter months.
A fireplace or wood stove can be a significant heat source and depending on where it is located inside the home could be used solely as a serviceable source of warmth, replacing electricity. However, did you know that there is a process to ensuring that the wood you burn is top quality and a significant heat producer? Yes, there are steps you can take to make certain your fireplace is working to the best of its ability, keeping you and your family warm and cozy throughout the entire winter season.
One of the first things to consider is the type of wood that is being burned.
Some of the best burning woods for your fires
include hardwoods like oak and walnut, among others. These hardwoods burn longer while providing a significant source of heat as opposed to softer woods which will not burn as long or produce the same amount of energy. Regardless, the key to getting a fire to ignite and provide warmth is to have wood which has been seasoned for some time prior to being lit. Seasoned wood, that which has been allowed to dry out for a given period of time - a year is recommended for most hardwoods - will be most beneficial.
“Green” wood, that which hasn’t seasoned or is freshly harvested will typically not burn or provide good fuel for a fire. The newness inhibits the wood’s ability to ignite and if lit can cause issues through sut production and build up inside a chimney after repeated use. While green wood and softwoods, like pine, can be suitable for outdoor fires and bonfires, they are definitely not an adequate material for your indoor fireplace or wood stove.
The passage of time allows for the wood in question to continue drying after having been cut and separated thoroughly. While finding a good amount of wood that can be used as a heat source is important, preparing in advance for the onset of adverse weather is the key to enjoying what all a natural fireplace and wooden heat source can provide.
Depending on the time of year that a tree was removed or cut for firewood, or any other reason, knowing that the wood has cured for about an average of a year is vital to enjoying a heat producing, long-lasting solution.
Knowing how to season lumber can be an artform and beneficial to not only the person for whom it is intended but also a provider - if you’re in the business of firewood production.
Almost as important, where you decide the stack of wood in relation to your home and ease of accessibility can be important. There are obviously a number of factors to take into consideration when looking at where to pile firewood - proximity, ease of access, etc. - but the ability to keep an entire stack dry is critically important. If the stack is exposed to the weather, then drying can be infiltrated by the elements leading to an extended period of time needed prior to use. Arguably, the ability to find a suitable location for the fuel source is one of the most important features.
Building a foundation can also help to establish a stacking method which can be used well into the future. By eliminating the wood’s exposure to the ground, both the risk for infestation and rot significantly decreases during a vitally important role in the burning process for homeowners.
Planning and Patience
Finally, coinciding with the first few examples of how to dry your firewood before use - is the ability to patiently wait while nature takes its course. Planning for this interval of time from when wood can be obtained until it is ready to be burned is a critical step in the process and one that many homeowners, unfortunately, forget. Once they have harvested some wood which they believe to be immediately able to provide a good heat source, they rush to place it in a wood stove or fireplace only to find out that their fire will not light - or requires a significant amount of effort in order to do so. With properly seasoned wood, the ignition process time is significantly reduced and you, along with your family, will be enjoying a nice warm fire in no time at all.
For this reason, if you are planning to use wood already available on your own property via tree removal, then gaining access to some dry wood for this season is important. Remember, the wood needs to dry for at least one year after being cut down and a good supply source for the interim is needed.
Arbor Garden Tree & Landscaping
has been serving the Denver metro area for 23 years. We began in 1994 with one truck and now have a full service arborist business. Our locally owned and operated company is proud to serve Denver metro area residents and business owners including the Denver Country Club, Castle Pines Country Club, city and county governments, various homeowners associations and private homeowners. Our knowledgeable and certified arborists would be more happy to provide you with tree trimming, tree removal, tree planting and landscaping services. When you’re ready to get started give us a call at 303-722-8820 or fill out our contact form