PROPERTY NEWS - Metelerkamps in Knysna supplied some tips to help you optimise the functioning of your closed combustion fireplace:
We often hear customers say that their fireplace worked really well and heated up their home beautifully last season, but it's just not the same this year. I can assure you - it's the wood they are using, and it's not dry enough. Burn only dry wood in your closed combustion fireplace, to maximise heating efficiency and minimise poor combustion and emissions.
When you buy a motor car, you have to look after it, service it regularly and use the right fuel - leaded, unleaded or diesel, right? Right! So your closed combustion fireplace needs dry wood and the moisture content should be between 18 and 28%. Both higher or lower moisture content can have significant negative consequences. High moisture reduces efficiency and makes it harder to start and sustain a good fire. Your fireplace will smoke excessively and the glass will go black and there might also be a smell. Wet wood can also give off risky creosote deposits in the flue. Very dry wood tends to burn faster and can evolve gases at a rate that outstrips the appliance's ability to supply adequate air, resulting in oxygen starvation. This can result in higher emissions, pulsating combustion and overheating.
Use hardwoods, and alien invaders - they burn the best! Wattle, Wattle, Wattle! Do your bit for our ecosystem.
How do you get your wood perfect?
It is essential to properly dry or "season" wood. Fortunately this is easily handled for us by time and mother nature. The process requires little more than properly managing wood supplies through cutting, splitting and storing to allow the wood to dry naturally. The goal of seasoning wood should be to get it to a relatively uniform moisture content of 20 to 25%.
It helps to understand how wood dries when discussing what should be done to season firewood.
- Once a tree is cut, free water trapped in the wood migrates very slowly through the ends of the log.
- Drying out the ends essentially utilises the same paths for water movement that the tree had used to draw water from its roots when it was alive.
- But if the logs are long, the path is long and the process can be very slow. So cutting wood to short useable lengths right away helps speed the seasoning process.
- Still, it may take a long time for larger logs to dry down if left in full rounds. Splitting wood can substantially reduce drying times.
- Factors that speed drying are temperature, wind and ventilation. Each 0,6°C doubles the drying rate, so dry your wood in a sunny spot, in the open and off the ground if possible.
So, in a nutshell: Cut, split and stack your wood by October and it will be ready to use by April. If you can cut two years ahead, and you stack and store reasonably, the moisture content should be in a 15 to 25% range.