Many people are now aware of the importance associated with firewood selection. The wrong type of wood can actually cause fire hazards, cause your home to fill with smoke, and simply not produce a hot fire. Therefore, choosing the right wood will ensure you have a great burning fire without the potential problems.
First, you need to buy only seasoned wood. Since freshly cut wood contains up to 45% water, that means you are using more energy to reduce the moisture than you are in creating a fire. On the other hand, seasoned wood only has about 20% water, which will burn better, hotter, and cleaner. For wood to burn, the water content has to be gone. This is why you should store cut wood for a minimum of six months, preferably to one full year, before you use it. This will allow it to dry and be much better wood to burn.
If you have a woodshed, that would be the best solution for storing your cut wood but if not, in the rainy or snowy seasons, you can simply cover the woodpile with a plastic tarp but leave room at the bottom for air to reach it. This will help the wood so it does not rot or mildew. One important consideration is that woodpiles are a feeding ground for termites. For this reason, you should not keep more than a couple days worth of wood near the house.
To buy good firewood, you would generally buy in a cord, although it might be called a truckload or rick. Regardless, the typical cord will measure eight feet long by four feet tall and four feet deep. The face of the cord may be eight feet tall but keep in mind it will only be as deep as the wood cut. That means a face of 16-inch wood would be just one-third of a cord. Now you can buy in half and sometimes, quarter cords but you will save money by buying the larger quantity in most cases.
While there are many different types of wood that can be burned, you want to limit the amount of pine you burn. You can use scraps from construction or use it for kindling but do not go overboard with this particular type of wood. Additionally, you never want to burn softwoods that have resin on them, such as wood used in construction. The reason is that the resin will cause the fire to burn excessively hot, creating a risk of fire. You also do not want to burn any type of painted or treated wood for the same reason. If you have unseasoned wood and want to start a fire, make sure you have the fireplace checked several times during the year rather than the once a year inspection.
Additionally, if you are thinking about using artificial logs, you will find that they do offer benefits and convenience. For one thing, you save money and hassle of dealing with buying, storing, and hauling wood. Additionally, artificial logs create an instant fire. If you want to convert your existing wood fireplace to one that burns with gas logs, you will need to have a professional come out to run the line and set everything up.