Save On Your Heating Bill: Chop Wood Chapter 9
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Save On Your Heating Bill: Chop Wood Chapter 9

Cured wood burns much better than wet wood!

By the teachings of Karl Marx, the consumer is always at the mercy of the means of production. This concept is especially apparent with utilities, where users usually only have one or two choices of supply. Astute observers will notice that electricity and natural gas costs rise in the winter when their usage increases for the purpose of providing heat (basic supply and demand). Although, conceptually, the individual will always be at the mercy of the market, using your fireplace can drastically reduce your utility bill during the winter.

The standard recommendation for curing wood is one year. If you want your wood to burn decently, this is probably a minimum. The reason for this is that there are two kinds of moisture related to wood: interior and exterior. Exterior moisture comes from rain, dew, and humidity. It doesn’t permeate wood, because wood is naturally moisture repellant. If wood has bark, it is even more able to resist moisture. Exterior moisture doesn’t penetrate much more than a centimeter, and it is quickly boiled off in the heat of a fire.

Interior moisture comes from the original purpose of wood: to conduct water up to the leaves at the top of the tree. The xylem and phloem (miniature plant cellular water pumps) of a live tree are pumping many gallons of water a day to the top in large trees. When a tree is cut down, it is in the middle of this pumping process. This is why the pieces of wood from a fresh, live tree are so heavy.

There are only three things that can remove water from wood: heat, time, and surface area. Because heat-curing is expensive and impractical for an individual consumer, time and surface area are our best friends.

What does this mean? If you can split new wood into smaller pieces and store it for a period of time, then it will cure more quickly. Ideally, maximum air exposure is best, but you also want to keep the wood dry, so you will have to arrive at a compromise.

Note that not all moisture evaporates in one year. Just like searing a steak, cutting wood causes the cellular water flow to cease and literally turns the piece of wood into a sponge with an outer seal. Thus, the time required to remove all the water naturally is significant. The difference, however, between cured or dried wood and wet wood is huge: wet wood cannot be lit until you already have a pile of hot coals from burned dry wood. Even when it does burn, it bubbles, hisses, steams, and leaves a lot of ash. This is because it doesn’t burn efficiently. Dry wood can light up almost instantly and create a roaring fire in seconds. Thrown on hot coals, it flares up immediately.


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Comments (2)

greate article. i love it. voted!

great article,