When you receive a delivery of wood it is important to store it correctly in order to get the best heat out of it. Wood is hydroscopic which means that it will take on moisture if left in prolonged contact with moisture.
Checking Moisture Content
We make every effort to ensure that our firewood is seasoned down to <25% moisture content. However it is worth checking that stored wood remains in good condition. To do this split a log in two with an axe and take a reading with a moisture meter (bought for £10-15) in the centre of the freshly split face.
Good airflow is the key to getting wood dry and keeping it dry. Make sure that your wood store is well ventilated if possible allow air to flow under your wood stack by using something like a pallet to prevent logs from conducting up water from the ground.
Rain and Snow
Rain and snow are not that crucial to seasoning as airflow will dry the wood out much more that rain will wet it. However, it is better to have top on a wood store and a degree of side shelter will reduce the need to ‘finish logs’ inside the house.
Store logs in bays
It is much better to store your logs in a 2 or 3 bays rather than a single heap or stack. You will be able to burn your oldest and hopefully driest logs first, leaving fresh stock to season further.
Finishing logs indoors
To get the best out of your logs is it sensible to store some logs and kindling inside ready for use a night or two before burning. This is often done using a log store close to the fire or stove.
Get to know how your stove burns. If you are not planning to burn coal and prefer to only burn wood it is usually advisable to remove any multi-fuel grate. Wood is best burnt on a good bed of embers and this is achieved by building up a good bed of ash. It is important to following instructions and advice given by the stove manufacturer.
Start with a hot fire
The stove and flue will perform best if you start off with a hot fire. Burn dry kindling and small dry logs and get a real roar on (‘Finished logs’ work best). Build up the number of size of the logs to achieve a good bed of embers. A stove top thermometer is very useful gauging how your fire is going.
Use a Thermo-electric fan
There are various ‘stove top’ fans available (£80-£180). They are really effective in pushing the heat out further, particularly if your stove is in an inglenook.
Don’t try and keep a fire in overnight
Damping down a stove too much in order to try and ‘keep the fire in’ overnight is not a great idea. It is not good for your flue. It is much better to have kindling and logs ‘finishing’ close to the stove. These logs should get you a fire roaring again within minutes of re-lighting.
Try seasoned softwood logs!
Softwood logs get a much undeserved bad press – they are fantastic if used correctly. It is true that larch and spruce can spit a lot and are therefore not great for an open fire, but in modern high efficiency wood stoves properly seasoned softwood logs are great for at least getting the fire good and hot. They do burn quicker than denser hardwood logs such as beech, elm and oak, but by weight (at the same moisture content) have a similar calorific value.
Maintain your stove and flue
Burning logs is a fantastic, sustainable green energy. Sitting next to a lovely hot fire on a winters night should be a pleasure in life. However, both open fires and stoves can be very dangerous if not well maintained. Make sure that you get your flue and stove cleaned and checked regularly by a competent chimney sweep.