I suspect that many of the trees that came down during last winter’s ice storm will eventually find their way into our wood heating systems. In anticipation of that wonderful ambiance and heat we get from wood burning, have you prepared your wood properly?

Here’s what Canadian woodheat.org consultant John Gulland says about preparing your firewood.

  • Most folks who split their wood and stack it in well-spaced rows where the sun can warm it and the wind can blow through it find that they can dry their wood in about six months.
  • If you have your wood stacked in early spring it should be ready to put away for winter’s use by October. However, it may need longer than that if you live in a damp climate or use very dense wood like oak, which is notorious for taking a long time to dry.
  • If you burn very hard wood, it is wise to process or buy it in the fall for use the following fall. That way you’ll be sure of having properly seasoned wood.
  • A piece of dry firewood has large cracks or checks in the end grain.

So make sure your firewood is properly seasoned before using it. If it means waiting another year before using it, so be it. I don’t know about you, but a house filled with smoke because of an attempt to make a fire with wet wood is not my idea of ambiance.