Firewood can be a comfortable, economical and environmentally responsible fuel for heating your home.
Stored solar energy in the form of firewood has historically been humankind’s most available and commonly used fuel. In Northern California, wood stoves and fireplace inserts are popular as primary or supplemental heat sources for homes. Rising cost and occasional outages of conventional home heating energy sources have led to increased use of wood as a heating fuel. And many people just enjoy the comfort and ambience of a real wood fire on their hearth on a cold winter evening.
Advances in the technology of wood stoves and fireplaces mean that you may now enjoy the glow of a cozy fire and efficiently generate heat without creating a lot of smoke.
To get the most enjoyment and warmth from your firewood, consider these suggestions:
Many articles and books about burning firewood contain charts listing heat values of various types of wood. And wood burners in some regions have prejudices for or against one species of wood or another. You really don’t need to be concerned too much about that. Since we are blessed with an ample supply of almond wood in our area an well as oak. All woods, dried to the same moisture content, contain roughly equivalent heat value per pound-from 5,000to 8,000 BTU for air-seasoned wood. In general, dense hardwoods such as almond & oak offer the most heating value per volume of wood. Softwoods such as various species of pine and fir tend to be lighter in weight per volume when dried, and thus offer less heat per volume of wood burned. Try to stay away from softwood like pine and fir.
If you have a choice, lighter woods can be used for fires when you “just want to take the chill off.” Denser woods are preferable for a long burn times.
Painted or chemically treated woods should not be burned because they release toxic fumes.
Firewood is typically measured and sold by the cord, which is defined as 128 cubic feet of tightly stacked wood. A cord may be a 4’x4’x8’ pile or anything that adds to 128 cubic feet. Many states require that firewood sellers indicate the amount by multiples or fractions of a cord. It is a good idea to measure the wood while it is still on the truck to determine whether you are getting an honest cord.
The most important thing is that your wood be “seasoned,” or dried to a moisture content below twenty percent. The drier the wood, the easier it ignites and the cleaner it burns.
Spring or summer is the best time to get your firewood in for the winter. After you buy or gather your wood, you should split it and stack it under cover to allow it to air dry.
Some wood may take over a year to dry such as oak, eucalyptus and olive which can take 2 years, to dry, seasoned wood is cracked at the ends, is generally of a grayer color than fresh wood, and is much lighter in weight.
It’s a good idea to stockpile enough wood so that you’re a year ahead, putting up wood not for the upcoming winter but for the following year. Always stack your wood so absolutely no rain can get it wet rain soaked wood is just as bad or worse than wood that is not seasoned.
Is a good source of information about the firewood available in your area, and is ready to help you enjoy your winter fires. Again, preparation is the key. Your chimney sweeps may be extremely busy throughout the autumn and winter months, so plan ahead and schedule an appointment in the spring or summer. By making your appointment in the spring or summer we can address any problems that may need to be repaired. Then when the cold hits in the Fall your ready to put your appliance back to work.