The Importance of Dry Firewood
The most frustrating aspect of starting a fire, whether at home or in the great outdoors, is when you can’t get it to light. You have your logs placed perfectly to allow for air flow, you have your fire starter, and you have an effective lighter… yet, the logs just won’t seem to catch.
The Downfall of Moisture
This most likely comes down to the moisture content of the wood you’re using. Most people don’t know this, but it needs to be split and covered off of the ground for 12 months prior to use.
Moisture content can be your worst enemy! It is the water weight of the wood compared to the dry weight. To put this into perspective, a freshly cut tree can have a moisture content of over 200%, while completely dried wood can have 0%. Typically, when you purchase wood, you need to reduce that moisture ratio from around 35% at the time of the sale to 25% or less. Otherwise, it will be challenging to burn.
The Drier the Wood, the Less Creosote
In addition to it being easier to catch fire, drier wood has a huge additional benefit: it reduces carbon particulate emissions. This means that it is producing less creosote, which is the harmful byproduct of your fire that remains behind in your chimney. It causes harm to the walls and lining of your chimney in the long-run, so the less creosote the better. It means fewer necessary repairs down the road. In turn, this is both better for the environment, as well as for you and your family.
Smoke: Less is Better
The smell of smoke is charming and enjoyable in the fall and winter seasons, we know, but in high concentrations, it is unnecessary and unhealthy. Wood smoke particles can get into your eyes and respiratory system. Especially if you suffer from asthma or another health condition, you’ll want to be aware of the impact of smoke on your body and your proximity to it.
The more efficient you are in burning your wood, the less smoke will be produced. Keep that in mind and plan ahead to burn wood with a low moisture content, when possible. A low-smoke fire should always be the goal!
If you’d like to read more about our clean burning practices and learnings on firewood emissions, check out our Firewood Project.