Wood Stove Fuel
Preparing The Wood Stove Fuel
When shopping for your choice for wood, you must think the different type of wood to get good value for your time and money. Some types of wood are harder, or denser then other species. The denser the wood, the more heat value will be available to you. The hardwood species, for example oak and maple, will burn longer and maintain a better bed of coals in your wood stove, which will be very desirable for those long winter nights. Nothing is worse than waking up to a cold house and a cold stove. A cold stove can take a considerable amount of time and effort to fire up and get the house warm. What you want is a good bed of coals to restart the wood stove. With a bed of coals left over for the morning start up, the chimney has stayed warm, with a good draft already established. Simply need to put some smaller dry sticks of wood on the coals and soon the wood stove will have a nice roaring fire once again.
Softwood species of trees such as pine, firs, and spruce, still have a good heat value, but it will be required to refuel more frequently and maintain a larger amount of wood to compensate for the heat value difference in each stick of wood. Normally the soft species of wood are very good for when the weather has moderated and there is lesser requirement for heat. The shorter burn times can be a benefit, as the fires will ignite easier and cool of quicker for those warmer days. Inasmuch with the advance of the latest stove technologies, softwood now will burn very satisfactory, as the combustion airs are more controllable.Your final wood choices may be determined more on the availability of the indigenous species of trees in your area. What type of wood you choose, remember that the hard woods have higher heat values so expect to pay a little higher price for the hard wood, but of course the hard woods as a wood stove fuel is worth more money, because of all the advantages of hard wood.
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. As well as allowing the wood stove to create less creosote in the chimney, as the particles that create the creosote are more thoroughly burned before exhausting up the chimney.
The wood needs to be cut or purchased no later then the spring of the year you plan to burn the fuel. Fresh cut wood has a moisture content of 35 to 50%, which is not suitable for burning. To try to burn fresh cut wood is like pouring water on the fire. All the energy of the flame goes into drying out the moisture instead of producing heat. By cutting no later then the spring of the year that you want to use the fuel, this allows time for the drying process, if done correctly. Once the wood is cut and split, the wood needs to be stacked outdoors in long narrow row. There should be no areas that could restrict the summer sun from warming the wood and for the summer breezes from blowing the moisture away. The satisfactory moisture content for wood fuel is from 12 to 20%. After the wood has seasoned for the summer, it is time to move the wood into a dry shelter for those long winter days of burning. Try to bring in the house enough wood ahead of time. This would allow the wood to warm up to room temperature before you burn them. The warmer wood will burn more efficiently and improve the heat output from the fuel.