Seasoning your wood:
It sounds easy, but there is a little bit more to it than just lighting a match. The key to it is the quality of firewood that you use. Fresh cut wood has a really high moisture content. It actually takes about 4 to 6 months for the fresh cut firewood to cure/dry out so that it is suitable to use. Normally the logs are cut into 16” lengths and then split with an axe, and stacked somewhere so that it can be exposed to the sun and the wind to bring the moisture content down to about 14% to 16%.
The hardwoods take a little longer than soft woods to dry out, but the wait is worth it. Hard wood is heavier then softwood and therefore each log stores more energy so that you don’t have to keep feeding the fire as often. If there’s a lot of smoke when the fire is burning, this indicates that the firewood isn’t dry enough and the fire won’t burn as hot which in turn leads to a higher amount of creosote buildup. This results in an increased chance of a chimney fire.
The other problem with burning firewood that hasn’t cured/dried out is that you will have a more frequent amount of maintenance to your wood burning appliance. Ie. Wood stove or Fireplace etc. as well as the chimney. Creosote deposits are enemy number 1.
The dangers of burning non-seasoned wood:
Creosote deposits can actually form a glass like hardness on the interior of your chimney liner. Normally the buildup will be thicker at the top than down at the bottom near the appliance. These deposits are combustible by themselves, and that is why you need a professional chimney sweep to clean the interior liner surface. Many Home insurance companies recommend this also. If you have ever heard of or witnessed a chimney fire, you would understand the importance.
Now this has been a very informal description. The process of having a wood burning fire, and the level of importance of understanding the pro’s and cons. Basically if you ensure that the type and quality of your firewood that you use is ideal…. You will benefit from your experience of the end result.
Remember to maintain your fireplace or wood stove. Clean it and from time to time have a Certified Wett Inspector check it out.