It’s that time of year again; time to stock up on firewood for your wood burning fireplace or stove.

Choosing the proper, dry firewood is crucial for producing efficient heat.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re making your investment:

Hardwood is King

  • Choose hardwoods such as Maple, Oak, Beech and more commonly Elm. Avoid softwoods such as Pine and Cedar.

Buy Dry

Dry wood burns easier, produces more heat, requires less “tending” to,  and burns “cleaner” (produces less creosote which is deposited in your chimney and is hazardous.  Nothing is more frustrating than purchasing a few cords of wood, only to find out that it’s too wet to burn well.  Ensuring that the wood you buy is dry can be a challenge. Here are a few tips:

  • Ask around. Some sellers are known for their dry wood. Check out these spots first, but always make sure yourself that what you’re buying, is in fact, dry.
  • Don’t order wood by phone: check it out yourself.
  • Buy clean wood. Sand and mud don’t burn well, and are messy to handle.
  • Look for cracked ends – (when wood is dry, it cracks where it’s been chopped through)
  • Buy only stacked wood, that way you know exactly how much you are paying for. (it’s hard to measure randomly piled wood.)
  • Bring your tape measure, and check out the piece length. Remember – it has to fit into your unit.
  • Invest in a moisture reader which can tell you the water content of the wood you’re considering. Moisture readers can be purchased at stores such as Home Depot, Canadian Tire and Lee Valley. Look for moisture levels below 20% to ensure your wood Make sure the pieces are split small enough for your appliance; you don’t want to have to re-split it all.

Stack with Care

Once you’ve invested in your season’s firewood, make sure you stack it properly so that it will continue to stay dry.

  • You can store firewood indoors or outdoors, provided that the top of the wood is covered.
  • Do not cover the sides of your woodpile, as you need airflow through your wood in order to evaporate any humidity in the air.

There are lots of great online resources for how to stack your firewood, to ensure protection from the elements, ongoing drying as well as aesthetics.

Here are a few of our favourites: