Firewood processing, storing, and burning tips for heating your home efficiently
Firewood heating is a popular home heating source that can save homeowners a significant amount on energy bills, especially in the winter. To heat your home efficiently with firewood, you will need dry wood that was processed and stored properly. If you choose to split your own firewood, a firewood processor will make the job much simpler.
When choosing firewood, remember that softwood burns faster and less efficiently than hardwood because it is less dense, but it makes for excellent kindling to get your fire started. Also use a moisture reader to test the wood before your supplier dumps it on your lot.
If you plan to process your own firewood, cut the trees in the winter before the sap rises. Then split the wood in the early spring and stack it. A firewood processor will certainly help speed up the work and make it easier for you. To have the right sizes of firewood to maintain your fire level needs, split various sizes of wood. If you choose to buy your firewood, make sure to ask when it was cut. You will want it to be ready for use (dry enough) in the fall, so the moisture content should be between 15% and 20%.
When storing firewood, keep it as dry as possible so it will burn well when you are ready to use it. Use these tips to avoid moisture and keep your firewood dry:
- Store firewood off the ground;
- Keep wood protected from the rain;
- Allow air to ventilate with open sides;
- Do not stack firewood against your house—moisture will shed from your home and there won’t be proper ventilation;
- Build secure corners to hold your woodpile in place;
- Split various sizes of firewood while stacking;
- Exposure to the sun and winds will help dry your firewood in time for the fall.
To heat your home efficiently with firewood, you need to build a strong fire with minimal smoke. Fires with smoke are usually a sign that the wood is wet or the fire isn’t built properly. To get the most out of your firewood, consider these tips:
- Keep the bed of ashes under two inches;
- Make sure the air intake isn’t covered;
- Split thin kindling since plenty of small pieces will light faster than larger pieces of firewood;
- Criss-cross a stack of dry softwood with crumpled newspaper and thin pieces of hardwood on top to start a fire quickly;
- Make sure the fire is getting enough air at the beginning, and turn the air intake down (but not completely) to maintain an efficient-burning fire.
- For re-lighting a coal bed, pile the coals together near the air intake and place kindling on top;
- If your woodstove is below 270 degrees Celsius, your firewood isn’t burning efficiently;
- If your woodstove is often above 500 degrees Celsius, it will be at risk of metal fatigue and chimney fires.
Follow these tips for firewood processing, storage, and use to heat your home efficiently and make the most out of your firewood heating supply.