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wood burning

Dry wood
Avoid Damage and Save Money with Dry Firewood

It’s practically heating season in the mountains! As fall and winter are upon us, it’s important to plan ahead if you burn wood.

You may have heard that burning dry wood is better, but you may not be aware of how essential it is to the environment. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with tips on how to choose the best dry wood to maximize heat and minimize air pollution. 

The truth is, burning wet wood can cost you money and cause dangerous creosote buildup.  
Burning wet wood has two negative consequences: 
  1. Your fire will smoke more, causing creosote build up in your stove and chimney.
  2. Your wood will burn less efficiently, costing you more to create the same amount of heat. 

When you burn wet wood, some of the heat that would be released to your home must be used to heat and boil off residual water. In addition, energy is released in the form of smoke. This smoke is both a pollutant and can cause irritation to your eyes, throat, and lungs. 

Every year when we clean out chimneys and wood stoves we see massive amounts of creosote build-up from owners who probably didn’t understand the necessity of burning wood with the proper moisture content. Please keep your family and your home safe by burning only wood that is properly seasoned and ready to burn. 

Your wood needs to dry below 20% moisture content before it is ready to burn. 

Cut wood takes at least 6-12 months to dry, but there are a lot of factors that affect it. Drying time depends on weather conditions, how covered it is, airflow, and the type of tree the wood comes from. Split wood will dry much faster than whole logs. Your firewood should be kept off the ground, and with a covering over the top to protect it from rain or snow. 

Things to consider when purchasing firewood:

If you’re purchasing firewood, there are a number of things to keep in mind. Firewood can be purchased under several designations: 

  • Green wood: While green wood is the cheapest option, it also requires drying out. You should have a suitable place to store the wood (keeping it dry of course!) for 6-12 months before burning. 
  • Dried wood: Dried wood is a bit more expensive but should be good to go from the dealer. It’s still best to ask questions and check your wood to ensure it’s below 20%. 
  • Kiln-dried wood: Kiln dried wood is the most expensive option but has the most quality control. If you’re looking for the more environmentally-friendly option however, it’s best to use naturally dried wood. 
  • Seasoned wood: “Seasoned” is not a technical term, so if you come across this from a supplier, you’ll want to ask lots of questions. Ask when the wood was cut into rounds – not when it was felled! (Remember: the drying process happens much faster for cut wood). And you’ll definitely want to check the moisture content yourself before using seasoned wood. 
How do you check the moisture content of wood?

While there are various DIY techniques to test the moisture of your wood, the most accurate and easy way is to use a moisture meter. 

Moisture meters are relatively cheap (anywhere from $15-$50+) and are straightforward to use. You’ll want to split a piece of firewood and test the freshly cut side.

The EPA provides a good instructional pamphlet on how to use a moisture meter. Just remember, you’re looking for a moisture content below 20%. 

Remember: The moisture content of your wood is a matter of safety. 

At the end of the day, it’s important to remember that while burning dry wood will save you money and effort, it’s also about keeping your home and loved ones safe. Buildup in your stove or chimney is a serious matter that requires immediate attention. 

If you’ve made the mistake of burning wet or green wood in the past, schedule a service call for your cleanup today, and make sure you stick to drier wood in the future.  Our certified chimney sweep carries a moisture meter and would be happy to test your wood. 

Always remember to plan ahead when it comes to your firewood. If you’re cutting it yourself or buying green wood you’ll want to ensure you’re giving it plenty of time to dry before you use it in your woodstove.

Summer Is The Best Time to Inspect & Sweep Your Wood Appliance

You’re celebrating the beginning of summer right now. After the year we’ve all had, we’re looking forward to a few great months of beautiful weather. In between getting a tan at the beach and enjoying a scrumptious afternoon BBQ with your loved ones, take a moment to remember the importance of performing an annual inspection and sweeping of your wood chimney vent. 

So, why is it so important to schedule your annual inspection and sweep this summer? Read on as we delve into all the benefits. 

Sweep Now, Enjoy Later

Whenever warmer weather approaches, it’s hard to redirect your focus from summer activities to the upcoming fall season. However, it’s always a smart idea to think ahead – and that includes ensuring your wood chimney vent is properly inspected and swept, so it’s ready to roll when colder days stream in.

Why should you sweep your wood appliance? And why should you do it now? 

While it’s easy to put the task off until colder weather arrives, if you delay getting it done until fall, you could run into operational issues when it’s time to light the first fire. Also, our labor rates will be increasing August 1  – be safe and save some money, sweep now! 

From avoiding back-drafting of smoke into the house and potential chimney fires to protecting your health and removing any clogs, prepping your wood appliance in advance of the fall season will ensure it functionals at an optimal level. 

Wood burning fireplace

A scheduled sweep will also look out for any problems that may be lingering – such as unwanted leaks or weakened parts that could threaten the integrity of the structure. 

Industry experts state that you should have your chimney inspected once a year. If you are the proud owner of a wood appliance, your chimney can develop sooty buildup during colder months, leading to potentially hazardous situations if not addressed by a professional.  

Getting your chimney swept before fall arrives is a vital part of ensuring you’ll be able to safely enjoy your wood appliance once the weather gets chilly.

How Does the Sweeping Process Work?

When you make an appointment for an annual sweep at Mountain Home Stove and Fireplace, one of our experts will perform a comprehensive inspection of your appliance.

Our certified professionals will assess the gaskets, liner material, clearances, and the condition of the cap and flashing/masonry cap. During the course of the process, our specialist will explain their findings and perform any repairs that may be needed – with your approval, of course. Any findings will be written up in the event that you wish to wait to have repairs done. 

It’s important to get your chimney swept as soon as you can – not only so you can enjoy the rest of your summer without worrying about the winter, but also because our labor rates will increase after August 1st.

Bookings for annual appointments are filling up fast! Give us a call today to schedule your inspection and sweeping, and you’ll enjoy our special summer prices. We want you to be safe and happy this upcoming fall season and that starts with a clean wood appliance.

Mountain Home Stove & Fireplace staff

Why choose us?

“Whether you are looking for a contemporary gas fireplace or rustic wood stove, we have plenty of options for you to choose from. With over 18 years of experience under my belt, I can confidently guide you in selecting the right fireplace for your home or business.” –Wolf Bennett, Owner

About Us

A family-owned and operated local business, Mountain Home Stove & Fireplace has been keeping the Yampa Valley warm and happy since 2002. Our mission is to be the Steamboat Springs area’s go-to resource for safe, quality products and services, with a personal touch.

Our Location

Address: 2620 S. Copper Frontage Rd Unit 6b, Steamboat Springs, CO 80487
(Between Kitchen Perfection &
Granite Haus off highway 129/Elk River Rd.)


Phone: 970-879-7962

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