As chillier weather approaches, it’s nice to think about putting your feet up to a warm, crackly fire in your fireplace or fire pit. Here are some things to think about as you choose your firewood:
Type of wood: Different woods burn differently. They vary in the amount and type of heat, fragrance, smoke, and sparking they put out, as well as the length of time they take to burn. Hardwood is best for an indoor fireplace. Soft woods contain resin and sap that are problematic for chimney flue linings and even pose a fire hazard. So we only deliver Oak and Hickory for indoor fireplaces.
Hickory has a higher BTU value than Oak and burns warmer; it even generates enough heat to supplement your home heating system. And if you have a larger fireplace, Hickory is a great choice because the fireplace will spread the heat easily. Both these woods will burn for several hours, whereas softer woods won’t burn as long. You can, however, use softer woods to start a fire as kindling.
Amount of wood: Base the quantity of wood you order on your storage capacity and how often you like to burn fires. The trick is not to over-order, as surplus wood that’s stacked near or against your home through spring and summer can attract insects you don’t want to invite inside!
This picture shows the standard cord of wood, which measures 4 x 4 x 8 feet (128 cubic feet), and should be enough to get you through the winter. If you’re purchasing firewood to serve as your primary means of heating, you may need 3-4 cords. We sell both full and half cords.
Cut of the wood: Yep, the pieces need to fit inside your fireplace in order to burn well! We cut all of our logs to 16-20” to do the trick. If you cut them yourself, logs should be 3” shorter than the width or length of your firebox and about 6” in diameter.
Age of the wood: Only seasoned wood burns efficiently, so make sure you burn wood that’s been aged for at least a year. Wood is seasoned when it has lost its moisture, so it looks darker than green wood and has a grayish, discolored tinge. It’s not as heavy as green wood, and even feels hollow. When split, seasoned wood is white. It’s generally brittle with cracks, especially on the inside ring. You may also see peeling bark.
If your wood is green, it won’t burn because it contains up to 50% water. Instead, it will smolder and create more smoke—and certainly won’t produce great heat. What’s worse, the condensation from wet, green wood creates creosote, which builds up in your chimney and causes a fire hazard. So the goal is to burn wood with a 20% moisture level or less. At delivery, our wood is slightly higher due to the rain in Northern Virginia.
Storage: Once you receive your firewood, stack it on a metal firewood rack to deter pests and help it dry. Place the logs in alternate directions to improve airflow for quicker drying, and store it under a cover like a tarp to protect it from the elements. Just leave the sides open so that the wood is properly ventilated and can continue seasoning. During the summer, you can remove the cover to help the wood dry faster.
You might not be ready to think about winter now, but it’s the perfect time to get ready for a toasty one. At Saunders, we offer top quality oak firewood that’s been properly seasoned. We also offer hickory firewood in Virginia and the customer must reside within 20 miles of Chantilly, Virginia. Supplies are limited.