Choosing and seasoning firewood

KNOW-HOW

Wood burning is a low-cost way to keep our home warm. Many people choose wood as their main type of fuel. However we should choose the right type of wood for proper operation and output of the fireplace. Also we must ensure the proper firewood storage.

Wood burning is a "exothermic" reaction, in which the oxygen reacts with the wood components (carbon, hydrogen), the reaction will yield carbon dioxide and release heat.

Factors affecting combustion are the type of wood, wood density, texture and logs size. The moisture content of wood changes the heating value of the latter.

All species of wood are not suitable for combustion. Some wood types are suitable for firelighters (softwoods such as pine and spruce). Hardwoods such as oak, beech, olive tree are considered to be better for combustion. They have long burning duration because of their high density and they produce nice flame. Also yew, strawberry trees, and almond trees make good firewood.

The availability of different species of wood varies in different parts of the country.

You should avoid using soft woods such as pine, because they leave tar and residue in the chimney, increasing the likelihood of a chimney fire.

It is highly recommended a chimney sweep cleaner to inspect the fireplace.

The frequency of chimney cleaning depends on how often you use your fireplace, usually every two years.

The moisture content of the wood is a factor that should not be ignored (maximum moisture content of wood amount of 15%). Wood should be as dry as possible, so firewood supply and stacking must take place during summer. Thefirewood drying process takes anywhere from 9 to 12 months depending upon the type of wood, the amount of airflow, and the humidity and temperature of the storage area.

The best wood is one that has been cut and split for at least 6 months. Ideallyfirewood should be stored for at least two years. Big amount of heat energy (BTUs) is required to evaporate water from green wood during burning and it is not released to space.

Consequently you should stack your firewood in a dry covered area such as a woodshed which allows air to circulate.

If you don’t have a woodshed you can store your firewood under a tarp in a manner that allows air to flow under and around it.


Finally, another factor that affects the amount of heat released by the fireplace is the way of putting logs in the fireplace. The logs should be placed creating some space between them in order to ensure an adequate supply of air to the combustion.

 

               

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