Due to standards increased on wood heaters, ensuring you choose quality firewood is an important factor in order to reduce emissions and burn wood efficiently.
Firewood left from last year tends to burn more efficiently than wood bought during the current burning season. It’s all a matter of curing, or seasoning.
To be seasoned is to be dry. Wood that has been newly cut has quite a bit of water. This sort of wood is deemed unseasoned and burning it can be difficult, since wet wood smokes a lot and doesn’t burn well.
On the other hand, seasoned wood that has been stacked, split, and stored in a dry area, produces efficient, long-lasting and safe heat. Whether you are cutting and seasoning your own wood, or buying it, below are some pointers to see whether you are purchasing good wood.
How to Buy Wood
Place orders early with a reputable fuel merchant, preferably one who is a member of The Australian Home Heating Association. Be sure of what you are buying or collecting in firewood. Moisture content should be in the range of 12-24% hence the need to buy in summer months and stack in an air-dry mode, eg. roof cover, open sides.
You can usually tell seasoned wood by looking at the ends of cut sections. Dried wood will have large cracks running across the grain which are formed when the wood is drying out. When you hit two pieces of dry wood together, there should be a loud hollow cracking sound. A dull, muffled thud indicates the wood is wet.
In some areas, firewood must be sold by weight, so buying seasoned wood means you don’t pay excess weight in water. Elsewhere, firewood is often sold in volume, eg. a cubic metre or in some cases, a cubic yard, ie. cage, bin or loader bucket etc.
The Australian Home Heating Association urges consumers to…
How to Store Wood
Buy your wood in spring or summer as wood heaters operate best when wood is completely dry and well-seasoned. Store wood under cover in a dry ventilated area. Wood stored on pallets or in a crisscrossed fashion allows air to circulate freely.
See our video below on how to choose and treat firewood