Need to Know for Fall: How to Buy Firewood and Safely Use Your Fireplace

October 10, 2019
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The weather in northern Virginia has finally turned and Fall is officially here.  It’s the perfect time to start burning fires in your fireplace.  Here’s everything you need to know about buying firewood and safely burning a fire in your fireplace.

Buying Firewood in Northern Virginia

Don’t buy a stack of wood from some guy going door to door selling it off the back of a truck.  It’s just not worth it.  If you’re not sure exactly what to look for, you may end up with a big bunch of wood that is just no good for a fireplace or even a fire pit. Buy firewood from a reputable business – it’ll save you in the long run!

How to check that the firewood you’re buying is good?

There are a couple things to check for in firewood, especially if you’re going to burn it in your indoor fireplace.  The wood has to be dried, or “seasoned,” and it also must be hardwood.  You don’t want to be burning pine or other soft woods in your fireplace, or you’re really asking for trouble.

If wood is freshly cut, it has a huge amount of water it it.  As much as half of its weight may be from water! And water, of course, does not burn.

An even bigger problem caused by wet wood is that it produces more Creosote.  This nasty stuff forms inside your chimney and can catch fire.  It’s a big cause of chimney fires.

Pine and other soft woods do not burn as hot as hardwood does, and also contributes to the formation of creosote.

Make sure your firewood is seasoned.

Check the wood you’re buying and make sure that it is dry.  There will be some telltale signs that it is dry, like deeper cracks in the wood, greying bark and lighter feel.

How to Avoid a Chimney Fire

We talked a lot about creosote and avoiding buildup in your chimney, here’s a little more detail.

Every year there are reported chimney fires in northern Virginia. What’s such a shame is that they are usually preventable!  If you take some simple precautions, chimney fires will never become a problem for you.

Here are some common sense steps to avoid a chimney fire…

  • Get your chimney inspected every year, and cleaned if necessary.
  • Have a chimney cap installed to avoid leaves or even animals blocking the chimney.
  • Install a smoke detector AND a carbon monoxide detector.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher on hand.
  • Clear out the area around your fireplace hearth so that curtains, books or other flammable material isn’t nearby.

Stock up on wood now! Our supplies always start running low before long. Get a half cord of wood delivered so you have it on hand for Thanksgiving and Christmas!