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Want to learn how to season firewood? Good news.....it's really not that difficult if you follow a few basic guidelines.

BUT before you even sharpen your axe and don your plaid shirt, you need to understand the purpose of seasoning, and plan your process.

Firewood can be a great alternative heat source to lower your monthly heating bill. Seasoning your own wood for use as fuel is ideal. Dry firewood burns hotter, easier and safer than wet wood. Unseasoned firewood has a high moisture content that can increase the amount of creosote. Unseasoned wood can also be very frustrating to use, It is hard to start, smokes a lot and uses the heat generated by the fire to evaporate the water in the wood; Leaving less heat.

To get the most of out of your firewood, follow these steps to make sure the firewood is seasoned and ready for use.

1. Plan Ahead - Seasoning firewood takes time. Cut your wood early in the spring if you want to use it in the fall. allow the wood to season one full year before use.

2. Split It - Splitting the firewood allows the air to reach all sides of the wood, speeding up the amount of time needed to dry the wood.

3. Keep It Off The Ground - Keeping the wood elevated off the ground reduces the amount of moisture the wood soaks up from the earth and also decreases the amount of bugs and fungus on the wood.

4. Stack It - Stacking the firewood in rows or in a criss-cross pattern allows the air to flow across the wood removing any unwanted moisture.

5. Cover It - Using a tarp, firewood storage shed, or firewood cover will keep rain and snow off your firewood stack.

6. Use The Sun - The sun is a natural kiln for firewood. Use the suns heat to evaporate the moisture from the wood. Stacking wood in the sunlight will allow the wood to dry much faster than a cool shady spot.

7. Pick A Good Location - Choose a location near your home or wood furnace to stack and season the wood.

8. Choose The Right Equipment - Using a sharp splitting axe or hydraulic wood splitter will make processing the firewood faster and easier.

9. Consider A Storage Rack - A firewood storage rack can be purchased or made at home. The rack can be placed in a convenient location and allow the wood to season properly. Most racks are fairly inexpensive or can be built at home with a few simple tools.

10. Think Positive - Gathering firewood can be a family function that not only gives you great exercise but can teach responsibility. Sometimes firewood can be a lot a work. Just think about the extra money you will save by not giving it to the local fuel supply company.