Heating with wood has been making a comeback in recent years. Wood heating can be used for the main heating of a home or as a backup source during power outages. When wood is harvested correctly and dried and stored properly, it can save you money over conventional heating costs. For beginners, there are some firewood tips for splitting, storing and stacking wood for winter that should be kept in mind.
Firewood tips for splitting, storing and stacking wood for winter
Types of Firewood
Trees have different moisture content. Some types of wood can have as much as 50 percent or more water content. Wood harvested from deciduous trees (hardwoods) like hickory and oak should make up a good portion of your winter wood stock. Maple and birch are also good choices but depending upon your region, some types of hardwoods are harder to find and are more costly.
Fir, pine, and cedar are considered softwoods. Softwoods have more moisture and they put off more odors and creosote. The wood you choose should be properly dried before burning. Ideally, you would want to buy your wood at least 9 months in advance before using so the wood has enough time to dry adequately.
Firewood is generally sold by the cord or you can buy partial cords. A cord is approximately 4 x 4 x 8. Wood can be purchased dry or wet – wet is often referred to as green wood. Dry wood should have a grey appearance and the bark will bend away from the ends of the log. When purchasing wood, the logs are usually pre-cut and split to fit in an average fireplace or wood-burning stove.
The cost of firewood can vary depending upon your area, the demand, oil prices, and the type of wood you want to purchase. If you donít have a way to haul firewood, the seller may offer delivery but this usually comes with an extra fee. If you order dry wood, you should take two pieces of the wood and hit them together. If you hear a hollow sound, this is a good indicator that the wood is dry. Often times you may be advised to simply look for cracks in the ends of the wood. Cracks are a good sign but this isnít a for-sure sign that the wood is properly dried.
Stacking and Storing Firewood
If you cut your own trees or purchase un-split logs, the wood should be split as soon as possible. Wood can be split either with an ax or a wood splitter. Splitting of wood consists of taking a round log and cutting it down the middle which helps the wood burn easier. During the warmer months, wood can be stored in a sunny location but not directly on the ground. Use either poles or pallets to store the firewood on. Round fence posts that are separated out work well to place your firewood.
Stack firewood in rows that are about 4 feet high. You can also cover the top of the firewood with a tarp but do not cover the ends of the cord. The wood needs proper air circulation to continue to dry until the cold season begins.
To prepare for winter, collect plenty of kindling which