A crackling fireplace provides cosy warmth and relaxation. If you store firewood, you should follow a few rules so that the fire will blaze properly later. Here are our tips for drying and storing firewood.
Storing firewood: the degree of dryness is crucial
Freshly chopped or even purchased wood is usually too moist for the fireplace – the firewood must therefore be stored properly. The moisture content of the wood has a direct influence on its calorific value. If insufficiently dried wood is burnt, it can even be dangerous. This is because the formation of soot in pipes and chimneys is then increased to such an extent that, in the worst case, a soot fire can occur.
The right choice of wood
Depending on the tree species, firewood dries at different rates. But even thin logs of a fast-drying wood should only be burnt after one year of storage. In fact, two years is generally recommended, because at the end of this period the firewood must have a moisture content of less than 20 percent. A moisture meter provides information on this.
Several criteria play a role in the choice of suitable firewood: softwoods are relatively inexpensive, dry comparatively quickly and are usually easy to ignite. They are therefore mostly used for kindling. Their resin causes many sparks when burning and is therefore only suitable for closed fireplaces. Generally, soft woods burn faster than hardwoods and produce more ash.
Hardwoods are an ideal firewood. Beech logs, for example, ignite well and burn for a very long time. However, they dry much more slowly than many softwoods.
Fast-drying softwoods and hardwoods (softwoods)
Pine Spruce Birch Poplar
Storing firewood: The right location
An ideal place for firewood is
sunny sheltered from the rain and airy.
Good locations are therefore south or west sides of houses. To protect the wood from precipitation, it is sufficient to have a house roof that protrudes far enough. If you don’t have one, you can build a shelter for the firewood yourself.
To prevent moisture from spreading from below, the wood must not be stored directly on the ground. In the worst case, the bottom layer will start to mould and the rot will gradually spread through the whole stack. Therefore, a base of stones, bricks or pallets makes sense.
Important: Only use breathable tarpaulins! If too much moisture accumulates, there is also a risk of mould. In addition, the stack of firewood should only be covered from above so that fresh air continues to blow in from the sides.
Split the wood and stack it well
Of course, you cannot store whole tree trunks – the wood must first be chopped and split. The best time to split is mid-year to the end of the year, because the lower humidity allows the wood to dry better. It is also worth shortening the length of the firewood (to about 30 centimetres).
If you only occasionally cut small pieces of wood, you can use a universal axe for splitting. For softwood, a splitting axe is the first choice. For hard wood, a splitting hammer is recommended.
As a rule, you should not wait too long: moist, fresh wood is easier to split than dried wood! Frozen wood is brittle and also easy to split.
If the triangular firewood is layered after being chopped, enough air can circulate in the gaps. It is also advisable to store the logs at a distance of 5 to 10 cm from a wall, so that this also ensures good ventilation. However, the appearance is a matter of taste: it does not necessarily have to be a neat stack of wood – the logs can also be piled up. The air circulation is then even better because of the criss-cross wood.
When stacking the wood, place it on the bark and space the logs out a little. This prevents rotting. Not a must! Staggered rows, however, provide more stability: the short side of the logs face forward in the first row, the logs are laid crosswise in the second row, and so on. Wood should be stored well, but not too long. The calorific value decreases after four years of storage.