Wood can be the most convenient fuel for home heating, especially if you have your own source for properly seasoned wood. You might have a forest on your property where you can cut, haul, and split your own. If you don’t have your own trees or equipment to cut firewood you may find a local source that is affordable. Whether you cut it or buy it, you shouldn’t burn your firewood until it dries for at least six months. It should be stored to dry until it’s ready to burn.
The Problem With a Wood Shed
The average homeowner burns about five cord of wood per year to heat a 1500 sq ft house. A cord of wood is tightly stacked and measures 4 ft x 4 ft x 8 ft. With these specifications it would be difficult to fit 5 cords of wood into a shed. It would have to be a big shed! There are other options, though, and your wood will still become seasoned if it is left outside.
Precipitation and Your Firewood
It’s best to use some kind of covering for your wood pile. This can be a lean-to, a barn, or even a tarp. Whatever you decide to use should cover your pile, but allow air to circulate around it, as this helps the drying process. If you cannot cover your wood pile there are a few things to keep in mind when stacking your wood outside:
- Use the wood’s bark
Bark is a natural barrier. You can arrange the wood bark-side-up to protect it from the rain.
(Pro tip: if you expect snow accumulation, arrange the wood bark-side-down.)
- Store on a platform
With the use of a few pallets or some lumber you can raise your wood pile off the ground easily.
(Pro tip: if you use treated lumber it will last for years.)
- Store on gravel
If you have access to gravel or have an affordable supplier, stack your wood on top of a layer of gravel.
(Pro tip: sand will also work as a porous platform to prevent water from penetrating your wood.)
- Cut to fit
Moisture lingers in a tree in microscopic tubes the length of the tree. Cutting it into small logs makes it easier for the moisture to dry.
(Pro trip: splitting the logs will help the wood dry eve faster.)
Preparation is Everything
The most important things you can do to prepare for winter can happen any time! You should begin storing firewood in the spring for fall burning. Making sure your wood is properly seasoned is one of the best ways to insure your fire is efficient and safe. Another important task to remember is scheduling your chimney sweeps and annual inspection. Keeping up with this important preventative maintenance is the only way you can be sure your chimney and fireplace are in proper working order.
If you have been putting off your maintenance appointments, it’s not too late to get them done. Call Chesapeake Chimney & Co today at 410-535-0052.