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Winter Firewood Fuel

When buying or cutting the wood for your winter fuel, you should take into consideration the different types of wood that may be available to you.  Hard woods are usually the best when you have a choice, the maple or oak are usually the species that you will find in this category.  The advantage of using hard wood is that there is more BTU (British Thermal Units) available per stick of wood. What that will do for you is the wood will burn longer giving off more heat per stick of wood.  Therefore you will not have to load the wood stove as often, and when you stoke the wood stove full of wood before going to bed at night the hard wood make a better bed of coals allowing for those long overnight burns.  The next morning when you awake, you will merely have to add a few small dry sticks of wood to the coals and soon you have a nice warm fire going, allowing the home to warm up quicker.  A cold stove will take a considerable amount of time before the wood stove will begin to produce enough heat to warm the home. The region where you live, most often will designate what type of wood is available. If softwood is the dominate species in your area, owning one of the new high technology certified wood stove will defiantly be an advantage as the certified wood stove have a much superior air control for regulating the burn and also will increase the efficiency of the wood stove by 20 to 30% on any type of wood.  With the soft woods you will be refueling the stove more frequently then you would with the hard woods, and possibly having to get up in the middle of the night to keep the bed of coals live in the stove.  The best blend of hardwood and soft woods would be for those cold winter month use the hardwoods, then for fall and spring use the softwoods.  The softwoods will have an advantage during the milder parts of winter as the softwoods will be easier to start and quicker to cool down on those warmer days.

Preparation for the winter heating season will need to start no later then the spring of the year.  The fresh cut firewood has moisture content anywhere from 40 to 60%.  This wood is called greenwood and must go through a drying or ageing process.  The drying process entails cutting the logs into firewood lengths that will be suitable for the size of wood stove that you are using.  Next the sticks of firewood must be split into smaller pieces again that are suitable for the size of your wood stove.  Next stack the wood in narrow rows out side to allow the summer sun and wind to dry out the moisture of the firewood.  By the late fall the firewood should have a moisture content down to 12 to 20%, now for the last but just as important procedure, remove the firewood from the outdoors and into a dry sheltered area that will be accessibly for the winter month ahead.  If you were to burn green unseasoned wood, you will usually see moisture bubbling or steaming out of the sticks of wood. The heat that is produced from green wood will go toward drying out the moisture of the Greenwood instead of warming your home.  This is a great waste of resources and energy. You may as well go ahead and turn on those expensive gas, electric, or oil heaters as they will at least operate efficiently and probably be cheaper to use.