Many homeowners choose to burn wood as a primary source of heat. With the increased focus on cleaner, sustainable energy sources, you may be wondering whether you should too. What are the benefits to cutting, splitting, storing, and burning wood for your home?
First, heating your home with wood is economical. Assuming you have access to a source of firewood, and the ability to cut, split, and store it, wood heat can cost only as much as your time. Second, as we mentioned above, it is environmentally friendly. Many newer wood stoves are EPA rated, meaning they are burning more efficiently than ever before.
Wood heat is also versatile. Use whole logs (cut to the proper length) in outdoor wood stoves or wood boilers, or split your firewood to a length that is better-suited for indoor heat sources.
Once you’ve decided how you’re going to burn your firewood, it is time to consider what type of wood you will burn. If you live in central or eastern North America, you’ll probably need to burn a more dense hardwood, like maple or oak, due to their accessibility. These dense wood types typically have a higher energy content per cord. What that means is that a single cord of wood releases more heat versus other types of wood, translating to fires and coal beds that last longer.
If you live a bit farther north, you may only have access to softer woods for burning. This includes birch, spruce, poplar, and pine – all trees common in areas known for their longer winters. Although these wood types are less dense than hardwood, they do tend to burn faster making them a great source of fuel for the in-between seasons like spring and fall.
Choosing the wrong wood type or wood condition can have a negative impact on your home. In fact, wood that is too wet or too large can actually decrease efficiency, causing creosote to build up in your chimney or pipes. The buildup of creosote is a common cause of chimney fires.
To avoid these issues, cut your wood to a length that is approximately 3 inches shorter than the size of your firewood box of choice. Then allow time to season the wood after splitting it. When seasoned correctly, firewood should contain approximately 15-20% moisture.
When storing, wood is typically stacked in what’s known as a “cord.” A standard cord measures 4’ x 4’ x 8’. Because of the variety of splitting sizes available, you may also choose to store wood in face cords (1/3 of a cord) or stove cords (2/3 of a cord). Both face cords and stove cords generally contain wood that is less than 4’ in length.
If you or your store are located in an area where wood is plentiful, and firewood as a heat source is common or on the rise, contact Metsa Machines at 1-888-848-4842 to discuss the possibility of stocking safe and efficient firewood processors in your store.