With the increased efficiency of today’s wood-burning appliances, it is more important than ever to have good-seasoned hardwood. The reason for this is because the higher the efficiency rating, the less heat goes into the chimney. With less heat going into the chimney, it is crucial to build up the temperature quickly, and hold it, otherwise, your draft will remain weaker, and your fire will smolder, possibly smoking back into the room. It is in such a scenario where you have creosote built-up, leading to chimney fires. It is not possible to hold enough heat with wet or unseasoned wood and so wood preparation is key.
How to prepare your wood
- Split, cut, and stack a year ahead of time. This will give it enough time to properly season.
- Cover only the top, not the sides, so it can breathe and dry out better.
- Split it no bigger around than 5″ – 6″ in diameter. A 10″ log might not get under 25 – 30% moisture content in the center.
- Split every log at least once, even if it is small. With bark all the way around, the wood cannot properly dry out.
- The moisture content in a piece of wood should be 20% max, preferably under 15%. We have moisture meters available to purchase.
- A log lying in the woods, cannot be considered partially seasoned, in fact, it may take longer to dry it out than a green log.
Another factor in keeping your flue temps up is having the right chimney system for your stove, to hold the heat better. Our hearth page has a great selection of fireplaces, stoves, and inserts for a variety of chimney systems. If you are satisfied with your current setup but are in need of a chimney inspection, you can read our post on Chimney Safety or give us a call to set up an inspection for your fireplace.