The crackling of a warm, open fire is a great way to take the chill out of a cold wintery Memphis Day. If you’re well versed in firewood selection, you know that it can be an involved process and not as easy as throwing just any log into an open flame.
If you’re new to firewood, but are interested in saving on utility bills during cold winter months and think the idea of keeping your home cozy through an open flame sounds appealing, there are a few things you should know. Our Memphis tree experts have a few pointers on getting started with firewood.
Before you start a fire in your home, it’s important that you use the right materials. If you’ve decided to cut down your own firewood, you should know that it is preferred you cut wood in late winter through early spring, which allows your wood to properly dry out before use the next winter. Using wood that isn’t completely dry will be hard to light, and any sap still left in the wood could cause dangerous pops that can spark secondary flames.
The longer the wood has dried out or “seasoned” the better it will burn. Types of hardwood such as ash or oak burn the best and longest compared to softwoods like fur or spruce which will have you replacing logs more frequently, and while woods such as birchwood are the prettiest to look at, they often burn very hot and create a build up inside the fireplace that if not well ventilated can affect the home.
The amount of wood needed is based on how often you plan to burn. a ‘cord’ of wood is typically measured as 128 cubic feet (8’ long x 4’ tall and 4’ deep). For smaller amounts you can also request a face cord which is approximately ⅓ of a normal cord.
If you’re purchasing wood from a vendor, the best time to buy firewood is in the spring or summer, when demand is low and often so are the prices. Buying wood in winter will come at a premium price. If you have dead or pruned trees in your yard, your Memphis tree specialist can help you make use of the wood as they remove it from your property, but keep in mind this wood won’t be ready to burn for quite some time. Seeing the wood removed from your property also ensures you know exactly what you’re getting in your firewood supply. The best way to start quickly is to purchase firewood from a well-known vendor who sells high quality firewood that is ready to burn.
Once you’ve determined which wood to use, and have gotten it cut down into the proper size and ready to burn, store in a cool, dry place. Loosely stacking it will allow the wood to breath and stay dry; failure to pack loosely can mean that mildew and mold can form, which will make your wood unusable.
Storing away from your house is ideal, but it’s convenient to keep a small stack closer to the house for your convenience. You will notice the more seasoned your wood is, the grayer it is. This is due to lack of water in the wood, and is a sign the wood is ready to burn.
Keeping your inventory of wood away from precipitation will make sure they do not get wet again, which slows the drying process. Direct sunlight on the wood is a good idea, and will slightly speed up the process of seasoning.
As you look to firewood to provide warmth and comfort to your home, keeping these tips in mind will help. Additionally, maintaining a clean chimney and fireplace will ensure your wood will burn best and properly warm your home. Proper maintenance for your firewood is easy to achieve and with a little practice, you can create a lifelong hobby that provides quality of life to your home.
If you have any firewood questions, contact our tree specialists today. We sell firewood by the cord, and it’s available for pickup or delivery. Our high quality oak wood will be perfect for keeping your home warm throughout the winter weather. Additionally, we can make recommendations on whether you have trees in your yard that can be converted to firewood. To learn more, contact us.