How to identify good firewood

How to identify good firewood

Burning wood for heat, when burnt responsibly on a high efficiency Stovax stove, offers a natural and sustainable off-grid solution to home heating.

What is seasoned wood?

Seasoned timber refers to wood that has been left to dry for 12-18 months or more to achieve a moisture content that is below 20%.

Why choose seasoned wood?

Seasoned wood increases the efficiency of combustion, which means more heat is generated from each log. Burning dry wood on your stove will warm the room up faster and you’ll also find you need less logs – particularly if you are using an Ecodesign Ready high efficiency appliance.

In contrast, burning green or wet wood takes much longer to produce usable heat. This is because much of the heat is lost burning off the excess water contained within the logs. Wet wood will result in poor quality combustion, increased smoke and the production of tars and creosotes that will block your chimney and blacken the glass of your wood burning stove.

Buying firewood

Buying wood that has the Woodsure Ready To Burn label is certified to have a low moisture content, so you can be sure you are burning the right wood on your DEFRA exempt stove, and taking full advantage of this virtually carbon neutral heat source.

It is also important to consider buying your wood from well-managed woodlands as they improve biodiversity, support jobs in forestry industry and of course ensure that there is enough timber to meet the future demands in years to come.

Collecting and seasoning your own firewood

Firewood should be left to dry for a minimum of 12-18 months before being used.

To dry wet logs, split logs into smaller pieces and leave logs into a suitable wood store to accelerate drying process. Make sure the top of wood store is covered to keep moisture out. Keep sides open to promote air flow and speed up the drying process. Do not store your wood against a house as this slows down drying and may cause pest problems.

Check your product instructions for the optimum size of wood you should be using.

To identify well-seasoned wood, check the ends of the logs. If they are dark in colour and cracked, they are dry.

Dry seasoned wood is lighter in weight than wet wood and makes a hollow sound when hitting two pieces together.

If there is any green colour visible or bark is hard to peel, the log is not yet dry.

It is recommended to purchase a wood moisture meter, to help you see when your wood is ready. Take a selection of logs from your seasoned wood pile and split them, so that you can take moisture readings from inside the log as well as the outside. If the moisture content is 20% or below, the wood is seasoned and ready top burn.

There are many different types of wood that all burn differently and have various qualities. For example, softwoods like cedar and pine create shorter burning, more intense flames whilst hardwood such as oak and cherry beech burn slower longer and are more effective for colder evenings.

Never burn construction timber, painted, impregnated / treated wood, manufactured board products or pallet wood. These can release harmful fumes and may also damage your appliance.

For further advice and information, speak to your local Stovax retailer.

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