The thuds of the logs as they hit the hearth and the crackle of a newborn fire are welcome sounds to many as the winter winds hit. However, you’ll quickly discover that the quality of the wood makes for the quality of the fire. As such, it’s critical to choose your fireplace logs with care. Below, we share a few tips to select and store the best.
Acquire Logs Far in Advance
Chop down firewood months in advance of when you will need it. Specifically, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends waiting six to 12 months to allow the wood to dry. You’ll know it’s ready when the ends of the logs begin to crack.
Freshly chopped wood contains moisture that will make a fire smoke instead of flame.
The smoke is not only a nuisance, but can prove harmful, triggering watery eyes, stuffy noses, chest tightness, asthma and even heart attacks.
Keep Logs Stored Away from Your Home
Water isn’t the only thing that can be found in the freshly chopped fire logs. Small insects and termites love to call these pieces home. Once stacked, small animals can also make a move to bury themselves in between the logs.
If you store too close to your home, you mind find yourself with an unanticipated infestation, like this story shared by a TractorByNet.com forum user:
“In my old house, I had a stone fireplace in the living room with a built-in wood bin next to fireplace. So I decided to bring a load of firewood inside and put it in the wood bin, and just leave it there more for looks as I was bringing other wood from outside to burn. I did all of this in cold weather. Well, since the house was warm I guess the ‘hundreds’ of ants inside the wood, which was stored in the wood bin, decided it was springtime and started to leave the wood. Next thing you know, I've got ants all over the fireplace, hearth, etc.”
Don’t let this be your story too. Store your firewood outside, at least 30 feet from your home.
Protect Firewood from the Elements
Once the firewood is chopped and ready to store, keep logs covered and out of the elements. Additional moisture from rain, ice and snow makes for lackluster smoke fires.
Keep the above tips top of mind as you chop and build, and you’ll be well on your way to a cozy and beautiful fire.
Are you stocked up to warm your home against winter’s chill? Share your tips for how you keep fires burning bright in the comment section below.
Image Source: Anders Alexander under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic