Firewood: Split, Stack, Cover
Freshly split or stacked for months, there are several reasons why proper maintenance is paramount for firewood. If this is your first time stacking or you just want a refresher course, there are a few things to keep in mind.
- Choosing a location
- Stacking your firewood
- Drying and seasoning your firewood
- Keeping pests away
- Cover your firewood
Choosing a location is essential to ensure your firewood isn’t susceptible to moisture. If moisture sets in, rot can become a real problem while also attracting termites and other destructive insects. It is not only recommended to elevate your firewood off the ground but storing away from your home can be important as well. Just make sure the area you choose gets ample sunlight to dry and season your firewood.
Stacking your firewood can be quite the science when wanting to keep everything dry and ready to burn. A level surface can be more important than you think due to pieces shifting as they dry. So be careful with how high you stack your firewood. At this point, log racks can really come in handy to help keep everything organized while ensuring you don’t stack too high. Log racks are much easier to cover as well; but we’ll get to that later.
Due to bark really holding onto moisture, residents living in rainy states or are expecting inclement weather need to consider the angle when stacking. It is recommended facing the bark side toward the ground in rainy conditions but upward if snow accumulates.
Keeping these few techniques in mind leaves air circulation. Rather than just throwing your wood into a pile, stacking them allows air to whistle through helping them dry quicker. Also keep your firewood away from any walls for air to circulate all the way around.
Drying and seasoning your firewood can take up to six months. Starting late in the winter and/or early spring are considered the perfect time to start cutting; giving your firewood ample sunlight in the months to come. The key to having seasoned, ready to light, firewood is maximum drying time.
But how are you supposed to know when your firewood is ready? Before striking that match, your firewood will notify you if it is ready or not. If they change to a yellow or dark brown color you’re good to go. Also look at the ends for small cracks. If you’re buying firewood at the store, it has already gone through a drying and seasoning process.
Keeping pests away can be a frustrating, challenging endeavor. As mentioned earlier, termites can be a real threat and love to call your stacked firewood home. Attracted to older, dryer wood, make sure to burn the oldest in the bunch first.
Covering your firewood is an extremely important step to ensure you have clean, dry firewood to burn. For any recently collected pieces, go without a cover as it needs to be exposed to open air to dry. With that said, after you’ve chosen a location, properly stacked your firewood (in a safe space or a log rack), allowed for maximum drying time and pests are under control – it’s time for a cover.
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