The best wood fires create less smoke, soot, and particulates, which is better for your chimney. How you choose and store firewood is just as important as the way you place the logs to create less smoke. Let's take a look at how to accomplish this.
Not all firewood is created equal, but all firewood contains water. The best firewood is well seasoned, meaning the moisture content is below 25%. It is easier to start, burns cleaner, and produces more heat. Green or freshly cut wood can hold up to 45% water, meaning less heat is produced and more deposits land in your chimney.
Water must be gone from your wood before it is used. Firewood that is cut to length should sit at least six months to season properly. Splitting the wood exposes more surface area, which allows the wood to dry more quickly.
- Well-seasoned wood has darkened ends, and you can see splits and cracks. It is lighter in weight and makes a clear "clunk" sound when struck.
- Green wood is quite heavy, the ends appear fresh, and makes a dull thud when hit.
Store It Right
The best-seasoned wood can be ruined if you store it wrong. The ideal storage area is a wood shed with open or loose sides so air can circulate. If this is not possible, then place your woodpile in a sunny location and cover it if it snows or rains. Uncover the wood in good weather to allow air to circulate. If possible, store your wood up off the ground. This will prevent your wood from absorbing too much water and rotting.
Finally, keep your woodpile away from your house to prevent termites from entering your home. When stored right, green wood will be well seasoned within 12 months and lasts up to 4 years.
Make a Top Down Burn
Unlike the familiar "log cabin" style of fire building, the top down method is built the opposite of what you are used to and produces less smoke. Begin by placing the largest pieces of wood at the bottom and the ends facing front and back. This allows air to mix well with the fuel. On top of the base layer, pile 4 smaller levels of wood or until the stack reaches halfway up the height of the fireplace.
Next, begin placing the kindling, using progressively smaller pieces. At the very top add a small pile of wood shavings. If you want, you can crumple a piece of newspaper and add it as well. To allow air to circulate, the entire stack must not go above the opening of the fireplace. The fire is ready to be lit.
While the fire burns from the top to bottom, it will ignite the wood below. There are no large pieces to fall onto a new fire struggling to burn at the bottom. As the stack burns cleanly from the top down, only a small amount of smoke is generated. To learn more, contact a company like Allstate Chimney Service.