Tips For Keeping Your Firewood Dry
If you are lucky enough to have a fireplace to keep those cold winter evenings toasty, then you will want to have a well-stocked supply of dry firewood. It is imperative that you keep your wood stock well organised and dry, to ensure that the wood does not take in moisture or become corrupted by animals.
Why Only Burn Dry Wood?
Freshly cut fire wood has a moisture content of around 50%, but this wood cannot be used as firewood due to a natural bio product that is released when burning wet wood – creosote. Creosote tar lines your chimney, and gradually builds up to the point where it can cause a chimney fire if not cleaned regularly.
Additionally, wet wood tends to give off a lot more emissions and smoke, which are unhealthy for the environment, odorous to your home and harmful to your lungs. Regular inhalation can lead to a variety of health complications.
If all of those reasons aren’t enough to convince you, dry wood is also more energy efficient than using wet wood. During the burning process, wet wood needs to evaporate more water content, which reduces the energy (heat) that is given off by the wood.
The optimal moisture content of dry firewood is around 15-20%. Wood that has been split and dried in the correct size for your fireplace is easier to light, and correct storage prevents rot and fungus from settling in.
Air flow around wood allows it to evaporate moisture without it causing rotting, so having a good storage facility/shed/box is important. Additionally, air flow underneath the wood will assist in your wood drying evenly, and allow for any moisture to evaporate without rotting the wood or growing fungus.
Where to Store Wood?
Best practice is for storing the bulk of your wood at least five feet away from the home. This allows it to have enough air flow to dry easily. However, wood that is to be used immediately should be brought into the home at least one day before it is to be burnt. This is because humidity in the home condenses on the surface of the wood if it is cold, which will make it hard to light.
Firewood that is being stored inside needs to be a safe distance away from the fireplace to ensure that there is no chance of it catching a spark and going up in flames. Different local governments have their own regulations about this, so be sure to check what the requirements are for your local area. For tips on building a fire storage area in your garden, talk to one of our gardening experts at Bacchus Marsh & Redgum Garden Centre.