A cost-effective way of keeping your home cozy and warm during the winter is to utilize a fireplace or wood-burning stove to create heat. However, while anyone can build a wood fire with enough time, there is a difference between a weak fire and a strong fire. If you want your fire and your woodpile to last through the winter, here are a few good tips for building a longer burning fire on the homestead.
1. Learn How to Build a Proper Wood Fire
Even a child can pile together some wood and paper and light a match. But that doesn’t mean they are building a long-burning, efficient fire. The key to any successful fire is to start small and then add on. Gradually adding on larger wood will result in a strong heat rather than just making the fire have to work hard right from the get-go.
It is also just as important to start with a good kindling so the wood will catch. Newspaper and small twigs work just fine. You should be wary about using anything else. The wrong kindling can ruin your wood or even stink up your whole house.
2. Use the Longest-Burning Wood
Which type of wood builds the best wood fire? In terms of heat and burn time, the answer is oak. Oak is hard and dense, assuring it will burn for a long time. Not only that, it will burn hot, too. If you have managed to build your homestead in an oak forest, you have a gold mine in terms of firewood.
If you can’t get oak, pine burns about 60 percent as hot, while white cedar burns about 50 percent as hot as oak. Those are your two next best options, but if you have it, beech, apple, mulberry, and maple also make fine firewood. Remember that nothing will ever be as good as oak.
It is also worthwhile that, no matter the wood, you also must season it before burning. By giving the wood at least six months to season and dry out, it will pump out almost four times the heat. This is where knowing how to create a woodpile is a valuable skill.
3. Allow Your Fire to Breathe
Fire needs adequate air in order to thrive. That means you will need to periodically check the air intake wherever you installed it to ensure that there are no blockages. Not only does your fireplace need clean air circulation, but your wood storage does as well. By not covering the sides of the wood in your storage, it keeps air circulating, allowing the wood to season properly.
4. Keep All Things Clean
Finally, keep a clean fireplace. This means sweeping out your chimney every year, as well as frequently cleaning the ash out of your stove. A dirty chimney is not only a fire hazard, but it also keeps your fire from burning efficiently. Soot is not just flammable, but it dampens the ability to radiate heat, as well.
By following these four tips, your woodpile should go down in size a lot slower. That means your wood should last well into springtime without any worries. You’ll have a warmer home, and you’ll save a bit of cash, too. Being able to make a fire that will burn a long time is an important homesteading skill.