Safe Storage of Firewood Such as Beech Logs
There are many types of firewood that should be carefully stored. For example, the beech logs that we sell should be stored carefully and the following tips can be used to help you store the firewood:
Find A Dry Location
A dry location is essential when properly storing logs. As most wood sold to homes in the UK today have to conform to the ‘ready to burn’ standard which means certifies that the logs have less than 20% moisture content. All sellers of firewood in the UK have to have their wood and storage tested to make sure it conforms to a set of standards. Whenever you buy firewood, you must make sure that the ‘ready to burn’ certification is present. This not only ensures the quality of wood that you are buying, but also ensures that less smoke will be produced by the wood. This helps improve the air quality in the local area and is especially important in ‘smoke control areas’ which covers most build up areas.
Elevate the Wood
Wherever you are storing the wood, make sure it is in a raised location. You will notice that all credible wood stores will have the firewood itself raised slightly off the ground. This not only helps prevent rising moisture affecting the quality of the wood but it also helps stop insects and other animals getting into the wood and hibernating.
Allow for Air Circulation
This also forms part of elevating the wood enough to make sure it is off the ground. By making sure the wood is off the ground, you can ensure there is a constant airflow to help dry the wood. As well as keeping the wood dry, it will also help prevent mould and fungi from developing on the wood which could cause health and respiratory issues.
Stacking the wood correctly will help with the air circulation which as we covered is extremely important in helping keep the wood dry. By stacking it neatly in rows, the air flow will be improved to further improve the moisture content overtime whilst preventing mould growth.
Cover the Top of the Firewood
If storing the firewood outside, it is essential to cover the top of the firewood being stored to prevent rain, snow and other moisture to get into the firewood. Wet firewood is extremely difficult to light and burn and it will be nearly useless in a modern wood burning stove.
Store Away from Buildings
It’s advisable to not store the firewood against the home of a wall unless you are storing it inside such as in a garage. Storing against a wall could help invite insects and rodents which may find their way into your home.
Rotate Firewood From Old to New
You should always use the oldest firewood you have first. If you take a new delivery of firewood, you should always try and use it last. This reduces the chance of the wood going bad or mouldy.
Season the Wood
It is highly advisable that you buy pre seasoned and kiln dried wood. But if you choose to season your own wood then you must make sure you follow all of the steps above and season it for at least one year. You should also use a moisture meter to make sur ethe moisture content is below 20% to ensure a good and clean burn. It is illegal in the UK to use wood higher than 20% moisture in smoke controlled areas. Smoke controlled areas today covers the majority of urban areas and so conforms to most households.
Ensure that you regularly check your log pile for signs of pests, mold or decay. You should either burn these as soon as possible or remove then and replace them before it affects the rest of your wood stocks.
Silver Birch Logs Storage Hacks
Tips for Properly Stacking Our Beech Logs
Stacking firewood is important to maintain the low moisture content you buy, as well as helping prevent bugs and fungi from getting into the wood. The latter could affect your health so it is important to follow our guide here on how to stack the firewood properly. Some of our firewood comes in boxes which we have designed with ventilation holes already. This design helps stop moisture getting into the wood.
With our boxes you can also stack them up with one on top of the other. As long as you leave gaps for the air to get through the ventilation holes, the firewood will not deteriorate and can be used for a long time. However, if you are not using our super convenient boxes, then you should pay close attention to the following tips:
Prepare The Area
Make sure the area you choose for stacking the firewood is suitable. It should not be touching the wall of your home and you should think about what you will use to raise the firewood off the ground. This could be something like an unused pallet or you could go and buy a log store specifically designed for storing firewood. These sort of stores will keep the firewood off the ground which will help with all of the elements we have talked about in this article. You can also buy both indoor and outdoor log stores depending on your specific use case.
Create a Base
You should always start your log pile by using the larger, thicker logs to create a stable base. By doing this, it will create a good base to help stack the rest of the pile. Raising the log pile will also prevent insects, rodents or other animals like hedgehogs from taking up residence in your pile.
The best way to stack logs is to use a crisscross method. This can be more time-consuming than just stacking the logs one way, but it will create a more stable stack whilst also allowing optimal air flow which will help in keeping logs dry. If you are using wet wood, then the crisscross method is all the more important as it also aids in speeding up the drying time of the wood. The correct air flow and location of the pile can help speed up the drying and seasoning by months.
Outdoor Stacking Without a Shelter
If you are stacking wood for long term storage and not looking to burn it in the short term, then it is advisable to stack the wood with the bark facing upwards. This helps shed rainwater and snow and prevents the core of the wood from getting soaked. However, whatever you are doing with the wood, it is always advisable to keep them in a covered location.
Cover the Wood
To ensure that the wood stays as dry as it can be, we always advise that the wood is properly covered. Covering the wood with a suitable material such as plastic tarpaulin will ensure that the wood stays dry and keeps the moisture content below the required 20% in most areas. This is of course not necessary if you are stacking and storing the wood inside such as a shed, garage or log store within the home. However, it is essential if you are storing the wood outside. Any moisture that gets into the wood can take an enormous amount of time to light and will affect the burning quality significantly.
Even if you are buying our handy boxes of wood, they should still be always covered. Although our boxes will help prevent moisture from reaching the wood, they are not 100% waterproof and will not prevent rain or snow from getting to the wood pile.
Maintain the Pile Regularly
You should constantly check the wood pile to make sure that it does not contain any bugs or fungi. By checking constantly, it will help reduce the risk of contamination. Any logs that appear contaminated should be used, burned or removed as soon as possible to stop the spread.
There is also a risk that outside log piles may attract animals such as hedgehogs which may attempt to take up residence within the pile and hibernate. This is one of the reasons why you should always check your log pile for signs of animals. It’s also one of the main reasons why you should always attempt to raise up your log pile to stop animals from choosing to hibernate in your wood.
Sheltered or Outdoor: Best Places to Store Firewood Such as Beech Logs
One of the questions we get asked most is whether they should store their firewood inside or outside. This of course does depend on a number of factors and there are advantages and disadvantages of both. We will cover these below.
Storing firewood outside allows for better natural airflow around the stack, aiding in the drying process and preventing mold or mildew. However, if you are buying kiln dried logs, the benefits of this could be reduced as the logs will already be dried. However, it will still help with preventing further damp from affecting the logs.
It goes without saying that most people have more space outside than inside to store firewood so sometimes space restrictions force people to store wood outside.
As we have covered previously, storing wood outside can make them more susceptible to pests such as insects which may get into the firewood pile.
Ease of Access
Storing your firewood outside can make it tricker to access. It can be much more of a hassle to go outside and grab some firewood than if it is inside your house or in a garage.
Extra Weather Protection
Storing your firewood outside will require the purchase of extra cover to make sure at least the top of the pile is waterproof to stop moisture ingress. However, you could also use an old shed or wendy house that is not in use to store the wood. These can make excellent outside storage units and will protect the firewood from the elements whilst also preventing bugs and other animals from entering the wood.
Seasoning Firewood Such as Beech Logs: The Importance of Airflow
Seasoning firewood means drying it enough so it is suitable for burning. It should be noted that in smoke controlled areas, excess smoke cannot be emitted from a chimney. This is defined by DEFRA as:
“A smoke control area is an area where people and businesses must not:
- emit a substantial amount of smoke from a chimney
- buy or sell unauthorised fuel for use in a smoke control area unless it’s used in an ‘exempt’ appliance (appliances which are approved for use in smoke control areas)”
The best way to ensure you comply with this legislation is to make sure you buy ‘smoke controlled’ firewood. Any decent firewood supplier will have a ‘ready to burn’ certificate which ensures they keep the firewood in the correct conditions whilst also making sure the firewood contains less than 20% moisture.
Kiln-Dried Logs Storage
The Science Behind Properly Storing Kiln-Dried Logs
There is a science to storing kiln dried logs and we will go through some of the tips and tricks here. Here we will look at kiln dried logs in more scientific detail.
The first is moisture content. It’s essential to understand how the moisture works in kiln dried logs. Freshly cut wood can have a moisture content from anywhere between 40-200%. This may seem strange that a log can have a 200% moisture content but here is the detail.
Wood’s moisture content can reach 100% since it is calculated by dividing the weight of the water in the wood by the weight of the wood without the water. To put it another way, the water is heavier than the wood fibers which means the moisture content can exceed 200%.
Now, as we found out previously, we need a moisture content of less than 20% for it to be effective in using it for firewood. To do this, we need to dry it by using a kiln or a process called air drying.
Air drying can take up to two years to achieve the required moisture content. It should be noted as well that 20% is a minimum moisture content and anything from 10-12% would be classed as ideal. Typically, the lower the moisture content, the easier it is to light the log and the less smoke it produces.
Kiln drying is a completely different process where wet wood is stored in a kiln at a constant temperature to reduce the moisture content over time. This process will still take 6-8 weeks but will also require energy to do this. Many processors of kiln dried wood will use wood to fire the kilns which creates a carbon neutral drying process.
Some suppliers will sell firewood on the weight. If you are buying 1000kg of kiln dried logs with a 20% moisture content, then you are paying for 200kg of water which is useless for burning and can slow down the burn rate. If the supplier supplies logs with an 8% moisture content then you will only have 80kg of wood to burn.
This means that buying wood with a lower moisture content will provide a higher calorific value and therefore a longer and hotter burn.
Humidity Control: Essential for Kiln-Dried Log Storage
There are many different types of kiln drying and we will take a loot at these here. Generally speaking, there are three main types of kilns to dry wood. Here is how each of them works:
Freshly cut wood is stacked in the chamber of a traditional kiln. The kiln runs in multiple phases:
Preheating: The wood is made ready for drying by gradually removing surface moisture through heating.
Drying: Maintain a controlled temperature range of 100°F to 180°F and a low humidity level of 6% to 8%. By moving warm air around, fans remove moisture from wood.
Monitoring: To guarantee constant drying conditions, sensors measure temperature and humidity and provide guidance for modifications.
Conditioning: To maintain uniform moisture levels throughout, the kiln progressively lowers temperature and humidity as wood approaches the desired moisture content.
Unloading: Care must be used when removing wood to avoid absorbing moisture too quickly.
Kiln-dried wood is examined for flaws and moisture levels as part of the quality check process. The thickness and kind of wood determine how long this process takes in days or weeks but it is typically 6-8 weeks.
- Dehumidification kilns provide an alternative to high temperatures by regulating humidity during the wood-drying process. Here’s a brief rundown of how they function:
- Dehumidification kilns work by controlling humidity levels in order to remove moisture from wood. Here is a detailed procedure:
- Loading the Kiln: To produce a regulated atmosphere, green wood is put inside the kiln and sealed.
- Controlled Humidity: By eliminating moisture from the kiln’s air, a dehumidifier lowers the relative humidity.
- Air Circulation: Fans move the dryer air over the wood stacks and throughout the kiln.
- Condensation and Drainage: The wood gets saturated with moisture from the air passing over it. After that, the dehumidifier receives the moisture-laden air and causes condensation, which separates the water from the air. The water is gathered and removed by draining.
- Monitoring and Adjustments: By keeping an eye on humidity and temperature, sensors enable operators to change parameters to create the ideal drying environment.
- Drying Process: The wood’s moisture content is gradually lowered to the appropriate level as a result of the dry air constantly circulating around it.
- Quality Check and Unloading: Before the wood is taken out of the kiln, it is examined for quality once it has reached the desired moisture level.
- Dehumidification kilns give exact control over the drying process, allowing for kinder handling that reduces the possibility of flaws like cracking or warping in the wood.
Vacuum kilns employ low-pressure environments to dry wood efficiently and gently. Here is the science behind how they work:
- Sealed Environment: Green wood is loaded into a sealed chamber.
- Pressure Reduction: The kiln reduces air pressure inside, lowering the boiling point of water in the wood.
- Moisture Extraction: At reduced pressure, moisture within the wood vaporizes even at lower temperatures. The vacuum draws out the vapor from the wood.
- Condensation and Removal: Moisture-laden air is condensed outside the chamber, extracting water and maintaining the vacuum.
- Gentle Drying: Lower temperatures and reduced pressure prevent excessive heat damage or stress on the wood fibers, resulting in gentler drying.
- Precision Control: Operators regulate temperature and pressure to achieve the desired moisture content without compromising wood quality.
- Vacuum kilns expedite drying by manipulating pressure, allowing for more controlled moisture removal at lower temperatures, preserving the wood’s integrity and producing high-quality, kiln-dried lumber.
Incorporating Kiln-Dried Logs into Your Home Décor
Kiln-dried logs have a natural, rustic beauty that makes them useful materials for home décor. Here are our top 7 uses for kiln dried logs in your home décor:
- Accent Tables: To make tabletops, slice logs into discs, sand them, then seal them. To make interesting side tables or coffee tables, arrange these discs on a strong base.
- Floating Shelves: To create floating shelves, cut logs into uniform lengths and place them on walls. These shelves are ideal for holding books or little decorative items and give an earthy, organic touch to any space.
- Candle Holders: To make candle holders, hollow out portions of larger logs. These can make magnificent mantle or dinner table centerpieces.
- Coat Racks or Hooks: To make a cute coat rack or a set of ornamental hooks, fasten branches or log pieces to a wooden plank and hang it from the wall.
- Plant Stands: For natural plant stands or bases for indoor plants, use larger, more robust logs. They improve the plant’s appearance and bring in a hint of nature.
- Creative Displays: To create an eye-catching display, arrange logs in different sizes and heights in a corner or as the room’s central point. For extra flair, you can paint or decorate them.
- Bookends or Doorstops: To add a rustic yet useful touch to your decor, chop logs into the proper sizes and use them as bookends or doorstops.
Remember to treat the logs appropriately to prevent any potential insect infestation or decay if they are not already treated. Kiln-dried logs offer an organic, natural aesthetic that can be beautifully integrated into various home decor styles, adding warmth and character to your space.