There are several reasons to keep an eye on your wood burning consumption during the Australian winter.
Stocking up on firewood before the start of winter is a great idea, but churning through your supply quicker than usual might have you asking questions about why this is happening.
Before we look at that, and how to maximise the burn time of your firewood, we should look at some of the other things that you shouldn't do when it comes to your firewood and wood heater.
Then we'll look at what you should do in an effort to preserve your firewood well into the winter season.
Avoid using firewood that is green, damp or wet. This is for reasons that should be obvious to the layman. These three types of firewood won't spark your fire into action unlike its dry counterpart, so don't use it.
Avoid cutting all your firewood into very small pieces. This is a sure fire way of churning through your supply sooner, as a wood heater will consume smaller pieces in next to no time. Thereby you'll be spending more money on getting in extra firewood to top up.
Try to avoid burning non firewood items like cardboard, loads of old newspapers and junk mail that comes through your letter box. Mostly this will send plumes of smoke up through your flue in a non efficient manner. All of that stuff can be recycled. Dispense with it responsibly instead.
Keep your firewood dry. Enough said.
Keep a mix of different sizes of firewood. Small pieces to get it going, larger pieces to sustain a longer burn.
If you know your way around different gum varieties, then it might be an idea to mix and match these too. Some gum tree varieties burn faster and hotter, while some hold their heat a lot longer. Ask your local firewood supplier about mixing it up when you order in your next supply load. Read our guide to the best types of wood to burn here.
There are two really vital things to get the most out of your firewood:
don't over load your firebox and stuff it to the brim with firewood.
build a bed of hot embers first, then lay your firewood from back/rear to front for an extended burn.
Stuffing your wood heater with loads of firewood and then expecting magic things to happen will only provide you with disappointment.
The more firewood you have in there, means there is less potential for oxygen to circulate throughout the firebox to spark the fire.
In effect, the fire is suffocated and will more than likely just snuff out.
How often have you seen this happen before?
Instead, build your fire in stages, just use small pieces of firewood like kindling, to get the fire going first as it builds intensity, before placing larger pieces on top of it.
Once a bed of embers has been created, then you can start working your magic around building a fire that will extend with minimal intervention on your part, that is if your firewood is laid correctly. This is how we do it.
Open your firebox, and with a pan or a stoker, move all of your embers towards the front of the firebox.
Leave a space in the back/rear, maybe about half the capacity of the firebox. The front half will be full of embers.
Start laying your firewood. Lay one larger piece towards the back, with other pieces laying in a similar direction rather than being placed in a criss-cross pattern.
Keep building this up, and then use smaller pieces to sit on top of the smoldering embers. Once these smaller pieces get going, they will ignite the larger pieces sitting behind.
With a bit of luck, your fire will rock away for the rest of the evening without you having to worry about it, and hopefully you won't have to keep loading it up which means less consumption of firewood.
A win-win situation all around.
Read our top 6 benefits to burning wood here.
- Tags: Tips & Tricks