Wood is wood.
As a new homeowner you may be excited about using a real wood burning fireplace or stove in your home to enjoy. You might enjoy the prospect of cutting your own wood for your stove or fireplace if you have invested in a chainsaw or a wedge, but most of us rely on purchasing pre-cut firewood from a local seller.
Like most things, choosing the right wood is not that simple. It is much like evaluating if fruit is ripe enough to buy, but the stakes are higher. The type of wood you burn can not only affect the efficiency and safety of your appliance, but the health and safety of your family.
Your Fireplace Efficiency
When you depend on a wood-burning fireplace or stove for home heating, you depend on its efficiency through several months of the year. To be sure you’re getting the most heat out of your appliance, you should always choose properly seasoned wood.
When fresh, or green, wood is burned it likely has too much moisture in it, causing the fire to burn too slowly. When the wood burns too slowly, it doesn’t burn hot enough to push the gases up the chimney, causing more residue to deposit in the chimney interior.
Added Fire Risk
A slow burn also causes wood to not burn completely. Creosote
is a byproduct of wood-burning, and it can become worse when wood isn’t burned completely. If you continually burn unseasoned wood in your stove or fireplace, the creosote can build in your chimney until it obstructs the flow of gases through the chimney. When a chimney becomes obstructed you risk a chimney or flue fire, especially since level III creosote buildup is extremely flammable.
When green wood is burned in a wood-burning appliance you risk releasing excess particle pollution into your home or the air around your home. Both the Environmental Protection Agency and the American Lung Association attribute particle pollution to asthma, chronic bronchitis, COPD, and allergies, among various other potential health
problems. Burning seasoned wood decreases the amount of wood smoke and particle pollution in and around your home.
There are different types of trees. There are hard woods and soft woods, and each should be seasoned before use in a stove or fireplace. Soft woods should be cut and set aside to dry for at least six months before use as fuel. Hard woods, however, should be set aside for up to two years to dry properly.
To ensure you are using only seasoned wood remember these tips:
- Purchase or cut wood and store it the spring before you intend to use it.
- Cut the wood to length before storing. Simply felling a tree and letting it sit through the summer does not ensure the internal tubes of water are dried, unless you cut the tree into pieces.
- Be aware of the types of trees you cut, and the amount of time they require to dry properly.
- Invest in a moisture meter to gauge for certain if your firewood is dried enough to burn.
- Purchase firewood from an experienced supplier, familiar with wood-burning and wood types.
- Consider using a pellet stove and purchasing wood pellets for fuel if you are unable to purchase or cut properly seasoned wood.
When in Doubt, Ask a Professional
If you have questions or concerns regarding your wood-burning appliance, call us at White Glove today or schedule
an appointment online. You may not need an inspection or a cleaning, but we are ready to answer your questions before you have a problem!