Have you a decent wood supply for the winter? It might be that you have quite a bit of wood, but it isn’t burning well. What is the problem? Many homeowners struggle through winter after winter with difficult fires and dwindling wood supplies before realizing they’re going about it all wrong. The firewood may be wrong. The wrong firewood can be difficult to light, can require more wood to reach a desired temperature, and can cause your chimney to need more frequent service appointments and repairs. Not convinced? Let us tell you why.

wood stove and basket of woodGreen Firewood
The first thing a professional may ask if your fireplace is persistently smoky sounds like this: what kind of wood are you burning? If your answer is “regular wood”, then you’re likely burning the WRONG wood! Green wood produces more smoke than heat, resulting in a smoky fireplace every single time. Wood is green or “wet” when it’s cut and burned right away. The tree was filled with water which helped it live, and which now keeps you from a warm fire. In order for green wood to become appropriate for burning, it must first be cut to length and left to dry, or season, for 3-6 months time.

Properly Seasoned Firewood
Once your firewood has been cut down and cut to length, it should be set aside for a period of 3 to 6 months. Some very hard wood types may need more time, but you can tell when it’s ready. Properly-seasoned firewood should have the following signs:
-Graying in color
-Pulling away from the bark
-Cracks along the edges of the wood
-Sounds hollow when hit with another piece
-Light in weight

The Best Firewood
Even seasoned firewood can burn differently than you planned, depending on the species of tree. Some trees are naturally very hard, and others are very soft. The softer woods will burn hot and fast when seasoned. The harder woods will burn slower, but with less heat output. In all, both will do, and as long as they’re properly seasoned, they will keep your fire going. It’s when you choose to burn green wood that your chimney and your fire may suffer. Good firewood is the wood that will produce a safe and efficient fire for you this winter. You can cut wood from your own property or you can buy from a local supplier. Just make sure you know what you’re getting before you pay.

If you’re not sure whether or not your wood is ready to burn, you’ll find out soon enough. If your fireplace is smoky or if the smoke leaving the chimney is especially dense, you are likely burning wood that is still wet. Green firewood will burn incompletely, produce more soot and creosote, and require more chimney sweeps to keep the system working safely and properly. If you notice a problem with how your system is working or how your fire is burning, don’t hesitate to call the professionals.

The Mad Hatter cleans chimneys, we diagnose smoky fireplaces, and we will even check out your firewood if you ask.

Call The Mad Hatter today at 317-596-0200.