Warm weather is finally here, and so are all of those beloved outdoor activities. Some of these activities include hopping in a pool or heading to the beach, but there’s nothing quite as exciting as those summertime bonfires.
Since the summer hasn’t officially hit, many people are taking the opportunity to prepare for their fires. Some of them even venture out to cut their own firewood for their backyard pit. It’s a relief for many homeowners to have that firewood cut and ready to go. While cutting firewood isn’t exactly a popular task, the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality wants to help homeowners learn how to get the most out of their wood, whether it’s from a lumberyard or self-cut.
According to Shoshone News Press, the main trick to getting the most out of the firewood is to make sure it’s dry. There are actually many benefits to burning dry wood rather than damp wood. Dan Sit, IDEQ West Silver Airshed Project Coordinator, spoke with the press about the advantages.
“First of all, it’s the efficiency … Secondly, it’s safer. It’s not producing the creosote that clogs up your chimney that causes chimney fires. And lastly … You’re not polluting the environment to the same degree you would if you were burning wet wood.”
Basically, if you burn wet wood, a lot of energy is needed to burn the moisture away. The fire won’t burn as hot and it won’t be very clean. It’s also harder to start a fire using wet wood than it is using dry wood. Wet wood can cause serious problems and potentially hurt your fire pit or chimney. Each year in the United States, there are about 25,000 chimney fires. Using the proper wood in your chimney can help prevent fires.
If you have the wood all ready to go but it’s wet, there are some steps you can take to dry it out. The first thing you can do is wait at least six months for the wood to dry. This all depends on what kind of wood it is, though, as some types will take longer to dry To check to see if it’s dried out, bang two pieces of wood together. The dry wood will sound hollow, but wet wood will sound dull.
Before stacking the wood, split it to a diameter of no more than six inches. Splitting the wood will allow air exposure, which ultimately improves the drying process. When you stack the wood, make sure it’s being done in alternate directions. If you can, store the wood away from the ground. Put it in a shed or a garage; someplace that won’t be in contact with direct moisture. If you do keep it outside, though, cover it with a tarp. The tarp should be removed come summer so your wood can dry out in the sun.
Firewood is an important tool for many homeowners across the United States. But make sure it’s dry before trying to use it this summer or fall.