The Best Firewood
When asked to picture a lit fireplace or woodstove, one might imagine the gentle snapping and crackling of a kindled fire. The long lasting, radiant heat and gentle glow. Imagine the earthy smell, associated by so many with feelings of home and comfort. This idyllic imagery is what many seek when choosing to burn firewood, whether it be a home’s primary heat source, or simply for occasional enjoyment. However, to purchase the best firewood can go very wrong. From moisture heavy wood that builds excessive creosote in your chimney, to major shortchanging on quantity for cost, there are a lot of ways that a firewood purchase can go sour. Protect yourself, your wallet, and your home by arming yourself with these tips for purchasing wood.
Properly seasoned firewood is the best firewood
Seasoned Firewood- You can’t purchase the best firewood without first understanding what it means to season wood. All freshly cut firewood contains up to 45% water. Seasoned firewood is wood which is at least 1 year old, or from last season, that has been stacked and protected in a manner that has allowed it to dry out, reducing the overall moisture content. Well-seasoned wood, when inspected with a moisture content reader or also called a firewood moisture meter, will have a moisture content of less than 20%. The ideal age of seasoned firewood is 2-3 years old, since the quality of wood will begin to diminish around 4-5 years. When purchasing seasoned firewood, you should always ask how long it has been seasoned for. Additionally, look for signs of a shady dealer. Is the wood haphazardly tossed into a pile? Proper seasoning requires that wood is stacked in a particular manner, not touching the ground or walls, and with sufficient airspace around the logs. Wood should be covered loosely while seasoning, but will often have the cover removed for selling. You can tell if wood is seasoned well by knocking two pieces together. It should produce a hollow, knocking sound, rather than a thud. Additionally, seasoned firewood will be much lighter in weight than wet, fresh cut wood. It will feel dry and brittle to the touch, and will have cracks and splits across the rings.
It is more Important that the best firewood is dry as compared to the species
Types of Wood- Different woods are best for different purposes, so there is no one wood that is the best firewood. For example, for occasional fireplace users, Fir is an excellent choice. This dry softwood creates beautiful, big fires and gives off that telltale scent of a holiday fireplace. However, it burns quickly, is not particularly hot and is not the best choice for people wishing to wake up to hot coals. For regular fire burners, particularly those using firewood to heat their homes, hardwoods like walnut and live oak win out. They cost more per cord, but they burn slower, hotter and last far longer.
Reputable Sellers- Honest sellers will stack wood according to guidelines for cord measurement (typically 4ft x 4ft x 8ft). Neatly stacking wood in this manner ensures that you are getting the exact quantity for which you are paying. Additionally, it’s important to buy from a reputable seller, if you can. Buying from someone with a good history is an early safeguard that you can take for yourself. If you don’t have someone who can recommend a seller to you, ask for a receipt when purchasing your wood. A legitimate, honest seller will have no problem providing you with a detailed proof of purchase, or providing you with any information you request in regards to the wood you’re purchasing.
Buying the best firewood doesn’t have to be daunting or risky. Following these few simple tips can ensure that you make the right decisions in your purchase and can guarantee you a season filled with the gentle crackling and warmth of a well kindled fire.