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Mendota Heights Wood Burning Tips: How to Select and Store Firewood

If you have a wood-burning fireplace insert in Mendota Heights home, selecting the right type of wood and storing it properly will help keep your chimney clean and increase the efficiency of your fireplace or wood stove. Here are a few tips to help you get started.

Selecting Firewood

Unless you have a pellet stove, there are many types of wood to choose from. While most people opt for premium hardwoods, lighter woods—such as maple or elm—are more plentiful and will burn faster, which makes them good for shorter, hotter fires or for kindling. Regardless of what type of wood you burn, make sure it is well-seasoned. Properly seasoned firewood is wood that has been cut and dried out as much as possible. Trees retain moisture even after they’ve died, so you want to make sure your firewood is cut at least 6 months to a year before you use it. The shorter the pieces are cut the better seasoned your wood will be.

If you have purchased seasoned wood instead of cutting your own firewood, there are a few ways to tell if it has been properly seasoned. First, look at the ends of the pieces. Are the ends darker, or do they have cracks and splits? Those are good indicators of well-seasoned wood. Secondly, check the weight. Seasoned wood is a lot lighter than green wood, which is dense because of the water retained inside the wood. Lastly, you can always buy the wood well in advance, and properly store it for several months before you plan to burn it.  If you end up burning slightly damp wood there will be a significant amount of smoke and you should consider getting your chimney swept and cleaned

Storing Firewood

Even if you’ve bought well-seasoned firewood, you will want to store it properly to prevent it from getting wet. Burning green wood creates more creosote buildup and, therefore, more potential for chimney fires. If the wood is too saturated, you may not get it to burn at all. Always store wood off of the ground and underneath a protective cover. If you are storing it on a porch, make sure there’s a roof over it or that it is in a sunny location and that you cover it with a tarp in inclement weather.

Ideally, you should store wood in a shed with a sturdy roof but that has openings or loose sides to allow air flow and help the wood stay dry should any moisture get trapped in the wood through the openings. A tightly-closed space could promote mold growth if the wood has retained any moisture. If you are trying to season the wood, proper air circulation is an important part of the drying process. Properly seasoned wood should last up to four years if it is stored correctly.

Feel free to call one of the chimney specialists at 2nd Generation Chimneys if you have further questions about choosing or storing your firewood for the wood-burning appliance in your Mendota Heights home.

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