The winter is on its way and it’s almost time to light the wood burner. As that time gets closer, have you given any thought to how you’re going to store your logs? As any owner of a log burner knows, a good supply of logs is a key consideration if you’re relying on a wood-burning stove to provide heat for your home, especially if you’re looking to run your stove as cost-effectively as possible.
Set aside space for storage
To store an adequate supply of logs, you’ll need to set aside space for storage. This is necessary as, unless you buy seasoned wood from a firewood supplier, your wood will need time to dry out and season, a vital step to reduce the amount of water contained within the wood.
Drying out can take anything up to a year (and sometimes longer) in order to cut the moisture content down to less than 30%. The drier the wood, the easier it will be to light which means the quicker it will heat your room, and you’ll ultimately burn less wood, as your home will get to the required temperature much faster.
Therefore, ideally, you should collect your firewood at least 6 months in advance, although 18 months is preferable. The best time to chop trees is in the winter as the sap will have fallen and the wood naturally has a lower water content. Cutting the tree into rounds, which are then split to the desired size for your stove, will ensure that the wood will dry faster. Furthermore, you’ll find that wood is much easier to split when it’s freshly cut and still wet.
Allow plenty of ventilation around the logs
Once collected, the wood should be stacked on pallets inside an open-sided shed or shelter to allow the air to circulate around it. It should also be covered from above to provide protection from rainwater, and the pallets should raise it above the ground to ensure that it doesn’t become damp.
Don’t be tempted to cover the wood completely with a tarpaulin or some other waterproof cover as this will inhibit the drying process and prevent the water from evaporating. It will also restrict the ventilation and increase the likelihood of rot. If storing wood under a tarpaulin is your only option, then you’ll need to remove the cover at regular intervals when the weather is fine and ensure that you cover it up at the first sign of rain.
It’s also advisable to bring a small amount of logs into the house for a few days prior to burning to ensure that they’re as dry as possible.