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Why Seasoned Wood is Best

Have you ever started a fire in your fireplace and experienced huge amounts of smoke along with constant loud crackling? If so, then you were most likely burning unseasoned logs. Doodlebuggers Fireplace, Grill & Outdoor Store of Pensacola and Destin, Florida, would like to share some important facts about firewood that every fireplace owner should know.

Fireplace Services Destin, FLSeasoned vs. unseasoned wood

When we talk about “seasoned” firewood, we’re referring to wood that has had enough time to dry out and lose a lot of its natural moisture. Freshly cut logs have a moisture content of about 45%. This is way too damp to burn efficiently.

Seasoned wood has a moisture content of under 25%. This difference will bring you several benefits:

  • Fires will start easier and faster
  • Logs will burn more thoroughly
  • Wood will burn hotter and produce better visuals in the firebox
  • Fewer embers will crack and pop out of the fireplace
  • Less smoke will be produced

The last bullet is a critical one. The more smoke that’s generated by your wood, the more creosote that will build up inside your chimney flue.

Creosote forms when smoke condenses in the chimney. It can be sticky, puffy, flakey or solid. In all its forms, it’s highly flammable. In fact, according to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), creosote is responsible for most chimney fires that happen each year in the United States.

You can’t keep creosote from collecting in your chimney, but you can burn dry wood and reduce how much of this substance is created.

How to tell if firewood is ready to burn

If you cut your own wood, a good rule of thumb is to give it six months to dry out in a place that’s protected from rain and snow. If you buy your wood pre-cut or are evaluating self-cut wood, here are some guidelines.

  1. Look at the logs: The ends of dry logs are usually dark with obvious splits. Green (unseasoned) wood has a fresher appearance.
  2. Pick up a log: Seasoned firewood will usually be lighter than you expect. Damp wood is heavy, due to excess moisture.
  3. Check the sound: When you bang two dry logs together, they’ll make a cracking sound. Green logs will produce a heavy, dull thud.
  4. Inspect the bark: The bark on seasoned firewood is brittle and easy to chip away. Wet wood’s bark is just the opposite.
  5. Smell the wood: In some cases, you may be able to smell a sappy odor in unseasoned logs. Well-dried logs shouldn’t produce much of an odor.

Chimney Cleaning Services Pensacola, FL

Dealing with creosote the right way

As noted, you can’t prevent some level of creosote buildup no matter what kind of wood you burn. If there’s smoke, there’s going to be creosote.

The way to deal with creosote is to have your chimney professionally cleaned once a year by an experienced chimney sweep. Chimney sweeps use a variety of industry-grade tools, solvents and vacuums to safely remove creosote and reduce the chance of a chimney fire.

Doodlebuggers offers complete chimney services, including chimney sweeping, chimney repairs and licensed chimney inspections. We know what it takes to keep a chimney safe and efficient. Reach a chimney expert today at 850-477-1151 in Pensacola, FL, or at 850-243-0154 in the Destin, FL, area. You can also get in touch with our handy contact form.

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