Preparing Wood Stove Fuel

When choosing your wood, you must consider the different species of wood so to get full value for your time and money. Some species 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.

The area that you live in, often times will determine what type of wood that is available. If softwood is the is your only choice, you still will be able to stay nice and warm, especially if you own one of the new certified high technology wood stoves, as the air for combustion is more controllable. You will be refueling the stove more frequently, and possibly having to get up in the middle of the night to keep the stove burning. Ideally you would use hardwood for those cold winter month, then use the softwood for fall and spring. The softwood would have an advantage during the milder parts of winter as the wood will start easier and cool down quicker for those warmer days.

Getting ready for those cold winter days starts no later than the spring prior to winter. If you wait to long and you cannot acquire a seasoned wood, then you may as well turn on your primary expensive heat source. Unseasoned wood has moisture content of 35 to 50%. Seasoned or dry wood has moisture of 12 to 20%. By cutting no later then the spring you have the necessary time to season the wood. Cut the wood in the desirable length that enables you to load the wood stove easily. If you cut to long you will be fighting the wood to load the stove. After the wood is cut and split you will need to stack the wood in single rolls so that the summer sun can warm the wood and the breezes can blow away the moisture. Before winter starts, you need to store the wood in a dry place to ensure that the wood has the best chance for combustion. If possible it is even more desirable to bring the wood into the home prior to burning to allow the wood to warm up to room temperature allowing the wood stove to burn hotter and more efficient, which will benefit you by consuming less wood.