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Tips for Storing Your Wood

Wood should be dried as much as possible before burning. Properly seasoned wood has about 7,700 BTU maximum usable energy per pound versus only about 5,000 BTU available from green wood. For best results, season or air-dry wood for at least 4-6 months after cutting. This should bring the moisture content down to 15 to 20% by weight. The best time to cut wood is during the winter or early spring before the sap runs. If the tree is felled when fully leafed out, let it lie until leaves have become crisp to allow leaves to draw out as much moisture as possible from the tree before further cutting.

Drying time is greatly reduced if wood is cut into firewood length and split, especially pieces larger than 8 inches in diameter. Splitting is easiest when wood is frozen or green. Wood must be properly stacked for satisfactory drying. The greater the surface area exposed to air, the more rapid the drying. Therefore, stack wood loosely and keep it off moist ground. The stack should be located in an open area for good air circulation--avoid stacking in wood lots for seasoning.

Store firewood outdoors, under partial or full protection from the elements, and no closer than 25 feet from the house. Keep area around wood clear of weeds, leaves, debris, etc., to discourage rodents, snakes, insects, and other unwanted pests from making their home in the stacked wood. Avoid storing large quantities in the house, warm garage or basement because the heat will activate insect and fungi or spore activity and bring about hatching of any insect eggs in or on the wood.

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