With cold winter weather making its way across the country, you’ve probably already started working on ways to keep your home nice and warm throughout the rest of the season. Whether you use a woodburning stove to heat your home or enjoy sitting in front of a warm fireplace, firewood is an essential item to keep stocked over the winter.

Employing nearly 888,426 people in 401,473 businesses across the United States, the landscaping industry is a major supplier of high quality firewood during the fall and winter seasons. Some people, however, prefer to cut, store and season their own firewood. Supplying your own firewood isn’t as simple as cutting logs and throwing them in a pile, and many people end up with wet or unusable firewood when the time comes to use it. If you like to collect your own firewood, keep the following tips in mind to ensure you have usable wood for your fireplace this winter:

Here’s some tips for ensure your firewood is ready come winter.

  • Test for Dryness
    Wet firewood is no good for starting a fire. These logs are harder to light and won’t burn as well as pieces that have been properly seasoned. The best way to season firewood is to leave it out in the sun to dry out, although this process can take quite a bit of time. Since different types of wood dry at different rates, it is important to know how to test the dryness of the firewood. One way to do this is by splitting a piece in half. If the exposed inner surface is damp, the wood needs more time to dry out. You can also try banging two pieces together — dry wood sounds hollow, while wet pieces sound dull. As a last resort, you can always try to light the wood on fire. If it is refusing to catch, it is likely that the wood is still too damp.
  • Move to Winter Storage
    It is best to store wood outside during the summer to allow the sun to dry out the chopped pieces. Come fall, however, exposure to the elements becomes an issue. Rain and snow can ruin the long drying process that took all summer to complete in just a matter of minutes. To avoid this, move the wood into a sheltered storage space when the cold weather hits to keep it safe and dry from the elements. Storing a small pile of wood in the house is okay, but most should be kept in an outside storage unit to avoid the growth of mold in the home.

    Nothing beats sitting in front of a nice, warm fireplace or woodburning stove when the temperature plummets. In order to be able to do this, however, you need a steady supply of firewood to last the season. If you want to take the project on by yourself instead of getting wood from a landscaping supplies store, keep the above advice in mind to ensure you’re prepared as soon as the cold weather hits.