January and February are the coldest months in the continental U.S. and it’s during these months that you might burn more firewood than you have so far this winter. In order to prevent waste and for your firewood to burn warm enough to keep your home warm, use only properly seasoned firewood.

Properly Seasoned Firewoodclose up of wood logs for fire

Your fire will burn best when you use only properly seasoned firewood. This is wood that has been cut down, cut to length, and then stored to dry. The living tree is filled up to 100 percent with water, depending on the species. In order to burn properly, the moisture content of the wood should be under 30 percent. This can only happen if the wood is cut and the outside is exposed to sunlight and wind for three to six months. Some hard types of wood may need to season for up to nine months for best results. You will know quickly if you’re attempting to burn unseasoned wood, also called fresh, green, or wet wood. It will produce more smoke, will be more difficult to light, and will take more wood to reach the desired temperature.

Signs Your Wood is Seasoned

Your firewood will be properly seasoned when it has been stored for 3 to 6 months with adequate airflow and sunshine. Once it has been stored for the appropriate amount of time, you should be able to tell if it’s ready to burn when:
-The wood is lighter in weight. It is not as heavy as freshly cut wood and is easier to carry.
-The exterior has dulled in color. The wood has gone from a vibrant “alive” color to one of dull gray or brown.
-The exterior pulls away from the bark. It will also crack along the edges.
-Two pieces will make a hollow noise when hitting together.

Buying Firewood

As a homeowner that cuts and stores your own wood, you have the benefit of being sure your wood has seasoned for long enough. Other homeowners who don’t have an accessible wood supply may need to find a local supplier. It’s important to check out the wood before you make your purchase and make sure you’re getting exactly what you pay for. The supplier may not know what species of tree was cut, but you can check yourself that the wood is properly seasoned before you buy.

Burning Wet Wood

Burning wet or green wood will result in a smoky fireplace, a difficult-to-light fire, and will cause you to move through your wood supply faster than necessary. Don’t waste your money, your time, or your wood supply. Your seasoned firewood will burn well and burn warmly. Your wet wood will burn incompletely and result in more soot and dangerous creosote as well as particulate pollution which affects the environment and your breathable air.

Worried about your wood supply this winter? We’re in the business of helping our customers stay warm and safe, and we can help you figure out if your bothersome fire is due to improper firewood or a chimney or fireplace issue.

Call Pristine Sweeps at 206-574-8414 and let an expert help you today.