The dangers of using unseasoned wood in your home
Winter time. The mornings are dark, the nights are cold, it’s the season for staying in and getting cosy in front of the fire. Throw the wood on, set it alight, enjoy the warmth. It’s as simple as that, right? Wrong. Aside from the obvious hazards; making sure the fire’s protected, not left unattended and there are fire extinguishers close by, we also need to consider the wood that we are burning. And here’s why.
Using unseasoned wood in your fireplace can be dangerous to yourself and those in the same proximity as the fire. It’s important that we use seasoned wood, but how can you tell the difference?
Seasoned wood is quite obviously more cracked than unseasoned wood, and the bark will pull away with ease. Unseasoned wood is often referred to as “green wood” due to the wood’s density and shade of colour. The texture of the unseasoned wood is moist and damp, whereas seasoned wood is dry making it easier to burn.
There’s a common misconception that unseasoned wood does not light, this is not the case. The wood will catch fire but will burn slower and less effectively, with water bubbling around the bark to give the indication that it’s too green to burn.
Now we’ve established how to differentiate between two pieces of wood, it’s also important to understand the threat unseasoned wood can carry. Should you burn unseasoned wood on your fire, the energy that the fire uses (BTU’s) is not helping you to stay warm, it’s, in fact, being used to burn away the moisture within the wood. Now, this is not only an inefficient use of the wood you’ve acquired, but the moisture also creates smoke, which in turn creates more creosote, and this is what sticks to your chimney causing problems with your flue. Cleaning or replacing your chimney flue is both time consuming, and in some cases expensive. For both these reasons, this cleaning can often be neglected, enhancing the chances of a chimney fire. A blocked chimney also pushes harmful emissions such as carbon monoxide, soot and tar back into the home, sometimes without our knowledge.
Though it may not be something you’ve considered before, it’s always important to double check the wood you’re burning before placing it on your fire.