When you think about seasoning, you probably think about cooking. With just the right seasoning, you can turn an ordinary meal into something special. The right blend of seasoning turns a good roast into a great one. Or maybe you think about seasoning your new cast iron skillet. Over time, the seasoning will make this skillet turn into one of your favorite cooking utensils. There’s one other thing that needs seasoning, and that’s your firewood. Seasoned firewood will burn hotter and with less smoke, and that’s better for your fireplace and chimney.
What is Seasoned Firewood?
Seasoned or cured firewood is simply firewood that has been allowed to dry out. When you cut fresh firewood, it can have a water content of up to 100%, which means half of its weight is water. If you were to try to light fresh cut firewood, you’d probably have some problems even getting it to light, and if you did get the fire going, it would be a smoldering, smoke producing mess. This is why it’s important to let your firewood dry out. Ideally, the wood that you burn should have a water content of no more than 15 – 20% in order for it to get a good burn. The more seasoned your firewood, the hotter the burn. Not only will this make a better fire with less smoke, you’ll also be producing less creosote, and that means you’re keeping your home and your family safe.
How to Season Firewood
The best way to season your firewood is by doing it the natural way – leave it outdoors in the wind and sunshine and let nature do the trick! There are ways you can speed up the process, however. First of all, cut your firewood into smaller chunks – a size that will fit well into your fireplace. After you’ve cut the log into smaller logs, you’ll want to split it. Splitting it into halves and quarters will not only help it to dry more quickly, it will also make it easier to carry.
After splitting your firewood, you’ll want to stack it properly. You don’t want to stack your wood directly against a building, and you also don’t want it on the ground if possible. Using pallets to stack the wood on gets it off the ground and allows an air flow under the bottom pieces. Don’t stack the wood too tightly together; again, airflow is important to make sure that the wood dries thoroughly. Place the wood bark-side up so that moisture doesn’t shed back into the pile.
Firewood takes a good 6 months to properly cure, and longer is better. Although this seems like a long time, when your fire is burning hot with little smoke emitted, you’ll be glad you waited.
For More Advice
If you want more information on the proper upkeep of your fireplace and fire-burning tips, give Old Dominion Chimneys a call. They’ll be glad to help you out with any and all of your fireplace needs.