CacheCrazy.Com: COME ON BABY LIGHT MY FIRE

Thursday, March 7, 2013

COME ON BABY LIGHT MY FIRE


It's Saturday evening and you just pulled into the driveway after a long day of Geocaching. You finally hit 2000 finds. What a day it has been; a day worth celebrating. It has been a cold day though and you're ready for a hot cup of coco or coffee. You figure you'll get a fire going, sip your hot drink, and watch a good movie.



You fill the kettle and put it on the stove and then head to the living room to get the fire going. As you pick up some kindling you realize it's not as dry as what you would like it to be. You manage to get a small fire going and then you place some larger pieces of wood on to burn. That's when you hear the snap, crackle, pop, and you just know the wood is still a little green. Man, why didn't I spend more time gathering my wood for this upcoming heating season.

Has this ever happened to you? Well it has happened to me. If you plan on heating with wood here are some things to consider. Firewood needs at least 6 to 12 months to dry (season). If you burn it when it is still "Green" then you take a chance on having creosote build up in your chimney. Once enough gets built up it can catch fire and you'll end up with a chimney fire. Trust me, that's the last thing you want to experience.

A number of years ago our kids had gone to bed and we had just settled into our bedroom, which was where the fireplace was, and I had a GOOD fire burning. I was in bed and my wife was coming to bed when we heard a noise that sounded like a freight train coming into the room. We got out of bed and I realized it was coming from the chimney. I knew it was a chimney fire. I ran upstairs and got the kids up and I could see the flames shooting up out of the chimney. I called 911 and the Fire Department responded.



Well we got out safely and the FD let the chimney burn itself out. There was no danger of it getting into the house since very little of our chimney was connected to the house. It was still very scary. What we found out was we had a build up of creosote and I had burned some wood that had polyurethane on it, which didn't help matters. Don't ever burn wood that has anything on it.



To properly season your wood cut it and split it, and then dry it for next year. Also, if you cover it just put a tarp on top of it. Don't cover the top and sides. That will keep moisture trapped inside and it won't dry as well.  Stack it so that the wind blows against the ends and right through. That will help it dry quicker. Also letting it get plenty of sun is a great thing.

Here are some lists of firewood heating values according to species.

HIGH Value
Ash, Beech, Yellow Birch, American Hornbeam, Dogwood, Hickories, Honeylocust, Ironwood, Sugar Maple, Black Locust, Oak, Pecans, and Persimmon.

MEDIUM Value
Paper Birch, Black Cherry, Elms, Hackberry, Magnolia, Red Maple, Loblolly Pine, Long Leaf Pine, Pitch Pine, Pond Pine, Sweetgum, and Walnut.

LOW Value
Aspen, Baldcypress, Basswood, Cedars, Cottonwood, Balsam Fir, Hemlock, White Pine, Red Pine, Sassafras, Spruce, Sycamore, Black Willow, and Yellow Poplar

By choosing a high heat value wood it will burn longer and it just produces more heat.

Here is a list of heating systems and how efficient they are.

Heating System                      Efficiency Range
Fireplace                                     10 to 15%
Box Stove                                    20 to 40%
Airtight Stove                              45 to 70%
Electricity                                    90 to 100%
Natural Gas                                  60 to 85%
LP Gas                                         75 to 80%
Fuel Oil                                        65 to 85%

The best wood for burning is 2 to 3 years old. If it gets older it actually loses its potency since it is starting to deteriorate. Also, if you can get the bark off and let it dry it makes for good kindling.

If your using a fireplace or wood stove try and do several HOT burns that will help keep the creosote from building up. Cleaning your chimney or flue is something you don't want to miss. Make sure it's done every year. If you don't feel comfortable doing it yourself then pay the money and hire a chimney sweep. Maybe you'll get to meet Mary Poppins.

Which ever way you decide to heat your home is up to you. Me, well I just love sitting by the fire listening to it and feeling the warmth it provides. Now get that fire going and put in that movie. "Hey Honey, where are the marshmallows?" "Levi, did you eat all of the Hershey bars?"





2 comments:

Erika Jean said...

That heating think in the fireplace is very interesting, Don't think I've seen anything liek that! Glad it all turned out OK and everyone is safe!

Kevin Bloodhounded said...

That is some good advice my friend! We run a wood and coal burner all winter long and i just love the warmth it provides. Another tip if you burn is to have at least one CO detector and smoke detectors in several rooms on all floors. I'm a little crazy about cleaning my chimney. I do it about four times per year needed or not. Partly because it's pretty easy to get to and it gives me a piece of mind knowing it's clear.
Great post Rob,thanks!

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