Homeowners are considering burning wood as it is better in environmental terms as the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere is approximately the same as that absorbed by the tree during growth. As the popularity of burning wood increases, it is important to understand how best to utilise your wood burning stove or fire efficiently and effectively.
Seasoned timber refers to wood that has been left to dry for 12-18 months or more to achieve a moisture content that is below 20%.
One of the important aspects to consider is the type of wood to burn. It is highly recommended that you only burn seasoned timber.
Do not burn green or wet wood as a large percentage of heat energy created by the fire will be used to burn of the excess water contained within the logs rather than heating your room. It will also result in poor quality combustion, increased smoke and the production of tars and creosotes that will damage your flue.
Seasoned wood increases the efficiency of combustion hence reducing your running costs.
It is also important to consider buying your wood from well-managed woodlands as they improve biodiversity, support jobs in forestry industry and of course ensure that there is enough timber to meet the future demands in years to come.
An essential part of ensuring that your wood burning stove or fire is performing to its maximum potential is looking at the wood you are using to fuel it.
Firewood should be left to dry for a minimum of 12-18 months before being used. To dry wet logs, split logs into smaller pieces and leave logs into a suitable wood store to accelerate drying process. Make sure the top of wood store is covered to keep moisture out. Keep sides open to promote air flow and speed up the drying process. Do not store your wood against a house as this slows down drying and cause pest problems
Check your product instructions for the optimum size of wood you should be using. To identify well-seasoned wood, check the ends of the logs. If they are dark in colour and cracked, they are dry. Dry seasoned wood is lighter in weight than wet wood and makes a hollow sound when hitting two pieces together.
If there is any green colour visible or bark is hard to peel, the log is not yet dry. It is recommended to purchase a wood moisture meter, to help you decide when your wood is ready. Seasoned wood is 20% less moisture.
There are many different types of wood that all burn differently and have various qualities. For example, softwoods like SEDA and pine create shorter burning, more intense fires whilst hardwood such as oak and cherry beech burn slower longer (more effective for colder evenings). Do not burn construction timber, painted, impregnated / treated wood, manufactured board products or pallet wood. Finding a good local supplier could help you reduce your carbon footprint