If you're lucky enough to have a fireplace in your home, 'tis the season to get it going! If you have a gas-burning fireplace, you can pick up a set of decorative, realistic-looking gas logs and be done. But if you have a wood-burning fireplace, you'd better make sure your logs are fireplace-ready before you throw a log on the fire.
Here's the 411 on heating your fireplace with wood:
- In order to reduce emissions, burn only well-dried wood. The drier the wood is, the cleaner and hotter it will burn.
- If you've decided to cut and split hardwood yourself, it needs to be air-dried for six to eight months before it can be used. Dry it in a location that's exposed to the wind and sun, with a roof over the wood pile if possible. Once it has only about 20 percent moisture, it's good to go!
Continue reading for three more tips!
- To test your wood for dryness, knock two pieces together. If you hear a crisp ring, it's dry. On the contrary, green, wet wood will give you more of a dead "clunk."
- To increase fire temperature, which offers better combustion and faster heat production, mix kiln-dried, thin wood (the kind that's store-bought) with air-dried wood in your fireplace.
- If your home is a modern, super-tight, energy-efficient house, your wood stove may not burn well because it can't get enough air to feed the fire. When your stove or fireplace starts to smoke or is difficult to light, try opening a window to improve air flow.