How to Store Wood for Winter

If you heat your home with wood, then you know that it’s important to store the wood properly so you have enough fuel to last through the winter. In this blog post, we will discuss some tips and tricks for storing wood for winter. We will also provide a few helpful hints on how to keep your fireplace or wood stove running efficiently during the cold months.

There is a saying in Scandanavia “a man without a wood pile has no wife.” Just saying, it’s food for thought. It has been made illegal by our government to burn wet wood or unseasoned wood. Burning unseasoned wood is a waste of time as it smokes a lot and gives off little heat.

The science of fire

If there is no vapour there is no fire. We are always aiming for a vapour fire, not a smoke fire. Happily, well-seasoned wood burns well, and efficiently and gives off a terrific heat. There are three elements to fire, heat, wood, and oxygen. For this article, we will be looking at wood. What type of wood, how to split the wood, and how to store the wood?

What is the best wood to store for burning?

The best wood for burning is hardwood. Hardwoods by their very name let us know that their structure is harder than softwood. Therefore their cell structure is of a greater density and can burn for a longer time than softwood. Out of the hard woods, a favourite of mine is silver birch, this burns at a terrific heat and heats the room in no time. Ash is also great because it has low water content and is regarded as the best, not quite as hot as the silver birch but is much longer lasting, so if you go out of the room for your dinner for example you won’t come back into a pile of ash. Other hardwoods make excellent burning such as oak, beech, hazel and hawthorn. These are the woods to use if at all possible. The next in line would be Yew, maple, Rowan (Sycamore), Plane, Pear, Hornbeam, Holly, Elm, Cherry, and Apple. The next lot is ok but nothing special. I would recommend seasoning for two years instead of one. They are Willow, walnut, spruce, lime, and horse chestnut. One to avoid but can use as kindling is pine and larch and the one to avoid is poplar which produces a lot of smoke and little heat.

What do you mean about seasoning wood?

This is where you cut the wood into rounds small enough to fit in your stove typically 10-12 inches, split the wood and then store the wood. The best store I’ve used is built a wood store out of pallets, this allows plenty of airflow in through the wood to dry it out. The shelter does need a solid roof to shed the rain. Getting a moisture meter is a good idea, most of our wood reads 15% which is comfortably below the level set by the government which is 20%. Most woods at the top of my list should be ready for burning after a year the woods at the bottom of the list would need at least two years to lower their moisture content to a level that falls below 20%.

Why a stove over an open fire?

Simple efficiency. An open fire burns at 12% efficency which let’s face it is not all that impressive. A stove on the other hand can burn at 85% efficiency which is amazing. So in return, you get more heat for longer for less wood, there is a win-win if there ever was one. The best place I know where to go would be the stove shop, on George Street in Glossop.

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