In just a couple of months from now, you will be sitting around a crackling fire, warming your tippy toes, sipping hot cocoa or wine, and taking in the familiar smell of firewood burning. When you find yourself wrapped comfortably in your favorite fleece blanket, or surrounded by family or friends on cold, winter evenings, you will be thankful for the wood logs that you collected and prepped ahead of time.
In fact, why wait till the first frost or snow to stock up on your home’s heat fueling needs? The ideal time to collect firewood is right around the end of summer. The extra sweat and effort that you put in on a sunny day will be well worth it once the chilly, rainy and freezing weather arrives.
Collect and Prep Your Firewood before Winter Sets In
On the first cold day of the season, would you rather be able to curl up around your cozy fireplace or run around making last minute arrangements to buy firewood, that too at a premium? While timely accumulation of the stock has its obvious benefits, there are other advantages of collecting and prepping your fuel supply well before winter sets in:
- If you source wood from the mass producers and distributors, they offer attractive deals during the summer months. With relaxed delivery schedules and favorable weather and road conditions, companies are happy to provide big discounts on this essential winter stock.
- If you have an adequate supply of dense hardwood in the vicinity and you chop your own wood, it is best to plan this work in the relatively warmer months. With longer days and encouraging temperatures, you will not only find it easier to chop, stack and organize your stash, but you may even be able to work up a nice tan, if you so like.
- An early prep will allow sufficient time for your fresh green stock of wood to lose the excessive moisture and be ready for the season ahead.
In addition to collecting firewood, it is also important to ensure that it is properly seasoned, so that it burns evenly and efficiently, and generates less creosote in the chimney. Properly prepped logs usually have a moisture content of 15 – 20 percent. However, the time required for seasoning may vary based on the type of wood, nature of storage and local weather. Here are a few tips to correctly prepare your firewood:
- Hack the wood to the right size and length to fit your stove or fireplace and split it to the proper width, usually no more than 6 inches at the widest cross section.
- Pile up the logs in such a way that more or less all the pieces are exposed to direct sunlight and wind. This will help speed up the drying process. Allow space for air circulation and try to place the long dimension of your stack in such a way that it faces the wind.
- Create an appropriate storage space for the logs, in the form of an open-sided shed. Keep the pile on an open slatted flooring to avoid the moisture from the ground to seep into the logs. Instead of a shed, you could also use tarp to shield your stack from the rain and add pallets to keep the wood off the ground.
While you collect and season your wood pile, remember to evaluate the health of your chimney and fireplace before winter sets in. Clear the creosote and soot, remove any dirt or debris and clean up the outer hearth. Call on the certified and experienced professionals from Elite Fireplace to conduct an annual fireplace maintenance and chimney sweep. Our licensed technicians will ensure that your hearth functions efficiently and safely, keeping you cozy throughout the season.
For reliable fireplace maintenance and chimney inspections in and around the Philadelphia area, call us at (610) 489-4274 or contact us online.