Have you ever found yourself longing for a crackling fire that burns hot and clean…without having to battle clouds of smoke? Well, you might be surprised to find out that the secret to achieving this isn’t just in the fire itself, or even the design of your fireplace or chimney (although a functional flue is definitely important). The key to unlocking a truly enjoyable fire experience often lies in an unexpected essential ingredient: the firewood itself. 

Who would’ve guessed! It’s not rocket science, but there’s a bit more to firewood than meets the eye. That’s where the experts at The Chimney Doctor come in with your guide to seasoning and storing firewood.

We aren’t just your average chimney and fireplace service company… We provide a wealth of knowledge when it comes to creating the perfect fire. From helping you choose the right type of firewood to ensuring your fireplace is functioning at its best, The Chimney Doctor can guide you through every step of the process.

What Is Seasoned Wood?

Seasoned firewood is wood that has been air-dried for an extended period of time to remove as much moisture as possible. Ideally, wood should be dried for at least a year and should have a moisture content below 20%. 

Ideally, wood should be dried for at least six months to a year and should have a moisture content below 20%. 

Using seasoned wood in your fireplace is important because it burns hotter and cleaner, produces less smoke, and reduces creosote buildup. Freshly cut wood, also called green wood, contains a lot of moisture – sometimes up to 50%! This moisture makes it difficult to light, and it’ll burn less efficiently and produce less heat too…which is the exact reason you might be frustrated and disappointed with your fireplace’s performance. And with seasoned wood producing less smoke, your eyes, lungs, and chimney will thank you for choosing the right firewood to burn.

What’s the Best Way To Store Firewood?

You’ve gone through all of the hard work of chopping and splitting those logs, so don’t just toss them haphazardly in a corner. Just like seasoning, how you store your firewood can make a big difference in its performance. Improper storage can undo all your hard work, so let’s make sure your efforts don’t go to waste!

The key is to create an environment that promotes dryness and air circulation.

  • First, find a location for your firewood that’s elevated off the ground. This prevents moisture absorption from the soil. Consider using pallets or a raised platform to create some separation.
  • Ideally, you should also choose a sunny spot with good air circulation, which helps dry the wood further.
  • While some form of shelter is necessary to protect your firewood from rain, snow, and heavy dew, avoid fully enclosed spaces, as these places can actually trap moisture. An open-sided shed is the best option.
  • Finally, you need to stack your firewood the right way.

By following these storage tips, you’ll guarantee your seasoned firewood stays dry and ready to deliver a warm, enjoyable fire whenever you need it!

original infographic with info on seasoned wood and storage

What’s the Best Way to Stack Firewood?

Who would’ve thought there was a wrong way to stack firewood? It seems like such a simple task, but proper stacking is essential for maintaining airflow so we can keep that precious fireplace fuel dry. So stack the logs in neat rows, leaving space in between each one. Aim for a maximum stack height of 4 feet, which ensures stability and safety. Lastly, avoid covering the entire stack with a tarp unless absolutely necessary for temporary protection. A tarp will actually trap moisture and hinder drying. Think of it like a sweaty athlete wrapped in a plastic bag – doesn’t sound beneficial, does it?

What Are the Benefits of Seasoning Wood Before Using It?

Previously, we discussed how seasoned firewood burns cleaner, hotter, and produces less smoke and creosote buildup. But that’s not all! Seasoning wood before burning also offers these benefits:

  • Steady and Controlled Burning: Seasoned wood ignites and burns steadily rather than flaring up erratically like fresh wet wood.
  • Protection of Stoves & Fireplaces: Seasoned wood releases fewer corrosive organic acids, protecting your fireplace and chimney from any damage that could be caused by wet wood.
  • Improved Air Quality: There are over 100 hazardous chemicals released that are known to be toxic and even carcinogenic (cancer-causing). Burning seasoned wood significantly reduces the release of these harmful pollutants, improving indoor and outdoor air quality.
  • Less Wood Consumption: Because burning seasoned wood results in more complete combustion, you’ll likely use 15-40% less wood to achieve the same heating effect – which means you’ll save money when it comes to heating your home.
  • Prevention of Wood Decay & Pests: Pests, like termites, target damp wood as a food source and a prime location to build their nests. Seasoned wood, with its lower moisture content, becomes less attractive to these unwelcome guests. 

Don’t Settle for a Less-Than-Perfect Fire

As you can see, seasoned wood is the secret ingredient to unlocking a truly unforgettable fireside experience. Next time you head out to gather firewood, keep in mind the power of proper seasoning.

And if you find yourself searching for other “chimney and fireplace services near me,” look no further than The Chimney Doctor! We’re your local experts in all things fireplace, from cleaning and inspections to repairs and advice on choosing the perfect firewood. 

Contact The Chimney Doctor today by calling 901-388-8097 or request an appointment on our website.