As fall’s cool, crisp air settles in and the season changes to winter, a warm fire is a welcoming thought.
Fireplaces and wood stoves are an important, economical source of heat in many homes during the cooler months. If you’re using firewood to heat your home, you’ll want to keep a supply on hand, whether you purchase the firewood or cut it yourself. There’s much more to firewood than meets the eye, though.
Firewood needs to be dry before it is used. Cornell University Cooperative Extension,Tompkins County explains that firewood should be bought or cut a year before you intend to use it in order to ensure proper drying of the wood. The wood should also be stacked as soon as possible so that the logs can dry out.
In order to protect the wood you’ve cut or purchased, proper storage is necessary. Cornell University Cooperative Extension, Tompkins County recommends keeping wood off the ground helps it lose moisture and also prevents it from getting damp. There should be some space between logs so that air can get through. Storing wood in an area that is exposed to sunlight and wind is also a good idea so that the wood can dry more quickly.
Before putting wood on the fire, check to make sure that it is dry. Wood that is green or wet will not burn well and can become a fire hazard.
Wood stoves are designed for wood, not paper, trash, treated wood or any other products. Cornell University Cooperative Extension, Tompkins County recommends using hardwoods like oak, hickory and black locust. Small amounts of softwoods can also be used, such as poplar, aspen and spruce.
If you’re cutting your own firewood, there are numerous safety precautions to take, including wearing protective gear, taking chainsaw safety courses and learning safe, effective ways to fell trees. Chris Kick explains the do’s and don’ts of chain saw operation and safety as well as simple ways to be proactive while cutting wood.
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