Mat-Su Valley AK Homeowner Tips: Buying and Storing FirewoodTuesday, November 6th, 2012
Whether you are using a fireplace or wood stove as a supplemental heat source in the winter or just for a pleasant, cozy ambiance for your Mat-Su Valley AK home, here are some tips to keep in mind when buying and storing firewood:
How much wood will you need? Homeowners that choose to heat their homes using firewood as their primary heat source will need on average of five cords of wood to make it through a typical winter; one cord of wood roughly occupies a volume of 128 cubic feet when arranged so pieces are aligned, parallel, touching and compact. More than 5 cords may be needed depending on the frequency of use and the region you reside in.
Seasoning the wood yourself can save money. To properly season firewood it must be cut to length, split, and allowed to air dry for at least six months until the moisture content decreased to around 20%. Wood that is ‘dry’ will appear grayish in color and exhibit splits and cracks on the ends. Buying already seasoned wood is more expensive than buying green firewood and then seasoning it yourself. If you have the room to store it and the time to dry it, then this is a great money saving option.
Hardwood or softwood? Both hardwoods (e.g. oak, maple, etc) and softwoods (e.g. pine, cedar, spruce, etc) can be used if properly seasoned, but hardwoods are preferable as they will burn twice as hot and for longer.
Storing firewood takes up a significant among of space and this must be considered when purchasing it. If wood is not stored properly it can rot or attract unwanted insects and other pests. It is a good idea to store wood in a protected space like a garage or shed and have it raised at least six inches off the ground to prevent problems.