What is seasoned firewood? Most importantly, seasoned wood is dry. Good quality firewood should be left to dry out for an extended amount of time – usually between seasons. It is this drying time that allows the logs to reach a low moisture content (below 20%) and burn most effectively once loaded into your closed-combustion fireplace.
Seasoned wood will not only give off the best heat once burning, it will also make it much easier to light and maintain.
If you want to get the most out of your wood log fireplace in terms of heat output, we strongly advise that you use only well-seasoned, dry wood. Not only will this boost the overall performance of your unit, you will also increase the lifespan of your fireplace and flue pipe system.
Find a reputable wood supplier
Firstly, you’ll need to find a good firewood supplier. When placing your order for the winter months, let them know that you will be using the wood in a closed-combustion fireplace and require the logs to have a moisture content below 20%.
Buy your firewood in summer
Rather than sourcing your firewood once the weather starts to gets colder, we recommend buying your winter log supply in the months leading up to winter. By doing that, you will avoid the seasonal wood shortages while letting the wood dry out further.
As for storing your firewood, the logs should be kept outside in a well-ventilated spot but protected from the rain. Keeping the pieces outside will encourage them to dry out further. The logs should be unpacked, if they were delivered in bags, and stacked neatly. If possible, pack the firewood on a slightly raised platform or wooden log store or on top of plastic sheeting to keep it protected from any moisture seeping up from the ground.
What happens when you use unseasoned or wet wood?
Because of the higher moisture content, using unseasoned firewood in your fireplace will cause the following issues:
- Difficulty getting the fire started and maintaining the fire
- A low heat output
- Excessive smoke
- Black soot on the glass door
- Rapid build-up of dirt and creosote in the flue pipe system
- An increased risk of a chimney fire between chimney sweeps
- Deterioration of the internal fireplace components
What to do if you cannot find dry wood
If the stockists in your area do not have any dry wood available, rather than burning unseasoned or wet wood in your fireplace, look to purchase compressed sawdust logs and use those temporarily or until your can find a good supply again.
Ultimately, a fireplace is an investment and, by simply sticking to dry wood, you will get the most enjoyment out of your purchase and keep it in the best shape for decades to come.