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Firewood; The long and short of it
It’s that time of year again when the nights begin to get cool and the days are perfect for getting your firewood squared away for this winter or even next. The prepared wood-burner is thinking about next year’s firewood, while the not-so-prepared are looking for the driest wood possible to burn this winter.
The average household in western Maine burns between three and six chord of wood per year. Depending on whether or not they are using it to heat their home or if they have converted over to a wood-fired boiler that heats their water, as well, some may be burning more.
Normally, wood-burning residents choose from hard woods such as hard, soft or rock maple, white and yellow birch, beech and some even prefer oak. Anyone who has burned wood for any amount of time has their preference on which wood burns the slowest, hottest or is even easier to work up.
For anyone who has experienced a chimney fire knows that soft woods such as pine, spruce and hemlock are not good for burning in your stoves, as they tend to leave dangerous creosote inside the chimney that heats up, creating a blockage and causing fires.
Wood can be ordered in log- or stove-length. Many people choose to pay a little more for their firewood to be cut, split and delivered. This makes it easier for them, as they may not own the necessary equipment or be physically able to handle working the firewood from log-length in to stove-length pieces. Whether you order it from the logger earlier in the season for a lesser price at full length, and cut and split it yourself or if you contact an outfit that will charge you a little more to cut, split and deliver it for you; chances are, you’ve been ordering it so long, you know what you prefer.
As for storage of your firewood, it depends on where you wood-burning source is located. Many people have their stoves located in their basements and have their wood piled in that same location, as not to have to carry it far. Others, with the outdoor burners, build lean to’s nearby in order to handle the wood close by.
The next time you drive by an outdoor wood burner, notice that the wood may not be cut as short or may not even be split. This is another time and money saver, as the wood burners can take a much larger piece of wood and burn it slower than the traditional inside stove.
A down side to the outside wood burner is that you do have to tend the fire outside versus staying in the warmth of your home, but with that down side comes the longevity of the fire. Depending on the size of the wood burner, you may only have to fill it once a day, whereas the home stove you may have to tend more often.
Many insurance companies will offer discounts if you don’t have a wood-burning source inside your home. To learn more, talk to your insurance agent.
Throughout western Maine there are several small and large wood operations working year round to ensure you have firewood. Depending on their demand, they may have seasoned wood stockpiled for purchase.