Let’s Talk Wood Preparation & Storage

Let’s Talk Wood Preparation & Storage

Did you know burning green wood can severely damage your woodburning stove and cause residue build-up in your chimney? Green wood (or freshly cut wood) releases a lot of creosote (tar). It will burn, but it won’t burn well, and if done regularly can cause a chimney fire or worse. Green wood is safe for outdoor use, but seasoned wood is best for the most efficient and clean burn indoors.

Seasoning is the process of allowing wood to dry over a period of time (usually six months) depending on climate, and type and age of the tree. Although some wood may require less time, six months is considered a reasonable amount of time for the moisture content to drop from 50 per cent to 20 per cent or less.

Once you have selected the correct seasoned wood for maximum woodburning efficiency, consider which species of wood is best for heating your home. Hardwoods (maple, walnut, oak) were traditionally the preferred burn choice because leaky cast iron stoves wouldn’t maintain a fire made of softwoods (cedar, red pine, fir) overnight. However, with the latest advancements in technology, woodburning appliances all function well with a wider variety of wood species, due to their better control over the combustion process. In modern stoves, both soft and hardwoods make excellent fuel for spring and fall use, but it’s still best to save your hardwoods for the coldest part of winter. Also, consider burning fruit trees, such as apple or cherry, as they produce a pleasing aroma, and do well heating your home too.

Want to save time and energy? Buying pre-cut wood is a great way to go, but it is important to know what you are getting. Check with the seller to see what types of wood are included and be clear on how much wood you will receive. Don’t forget to determine the appropriate log dimensions so they fit inside your stove. It is good practice to visit the woodlot and inspect the wood before purchasing.

The official measurement of firewood is a “cord”. A “full cord” is four feet tall by four feet deep by eight feet long. Depending on the log size (commonly sixteen to eighteen inches), a “face cord” may only offer a third the firewood as a full cord, and should be priced accordingly. Firewood is also sometimes sold by the amount that fits in a truck bed; this can make the amount of wood difficult to gauge and can conceal a higher price per cord measure.

The amount of wood you need depends on climate, length of seasons, size of your home, and whether or not your appliance is the primary heating source. In theory, a cord of wood could last you four months in a smaller home with conservative use and moderate winter temperatures. However, it is better to err on the side of caution and overestimate the amount of firewood needed, so you aren’t left out in the cold. Always source a couple of woodlots to keep your options open. A cord most likely will only last you two months.

Once your wood has been delivered, or you’ve just finished splitting your own wood (the most inexpensive firewood source), it now needs to be stacked and stored properly.

Stack wood near the entrance to your home, but not against the wall, as this prevents insect and critter problems. Construct an open shed or use a tarp to shield wood from rain and elements. Keep your wood raised three to four inches off of a solid base or the ground to prevent the bottom rows from rotting. Pallet boards work very well for this purpose. Whatever you use, keep in mind there needs to be room for good air circulation all around the stack to aid in seasoning, and protection from the elements year-round. If you split your own wood, the storage area should ideally be sized to hold a three-year supply, to allow for proper seasoning and rotation.

Thank you to woodheat.org for the above information. woodheat.org is a great source for information on heating your home with wood.

Top Reasons to Install or Upgrade a Fireplace

Top Reasons to Install or Upgrade a Fireplace

When it comes to adding ambiance, there is nothing better than a fireplace. Whether woodburning, gas or electric, a hearth appliance not only increases your home’s value but can lower your monthly heating costs, all while creating a comfortable, happy space for friends and family.

Increased Home Value

According to real estate professionals, one of the most desirable features for homebuyers is a fireplace, and having one could add 6–12% to your listing price. A recently updated fireplace can add value to your home when you’re ready to sell, especially if it’s a high efficiency appliance.


It may come as a surprise, but a hearth appliance can provide an efficient space heating option that won’t break the bank. The cost of upgrading a fireplace varies but can be quite an affordable option when considering improvements to your home. It can also help you save money on heating costs by allowing you to heat the spaces where you and your family spend time together.


No one can dispute the allure of a fireplace and the calming effect it can have, making your home an escape from your hectic life. A simple facelift and upgrade can dramatically update the look and efficiency of your existing fireplace.

Family Time

With the popularity of mobile devices it isn’t surprising our national average screen time is staggering and steadily climbing. The result is less quality time together. Creating a comfortable and calming family room centered around a hearth will mean more quality time with those you love.

If you think it is time to replace your hearth, visit a specialty hearth retailer to see what suits your style and budget, or check out manufacturer and local retailer websites.

Understanding the Manufacturer’s Manual

Understanding the Manufacturer’s Manual

If you have a new hearth appliance, or you’ve inherited an existing appliance in a new residence, you’ll want to read the manual carefully before operating your appliance to ensure safe and proper operation. If you can’t locate the manual you should be able to download a copy from the manufacturer’s website. You can find the manufacturer, brand and model on the rating card or plate. The following items will be of particular importance to you as the owner of the appliance.


Read this section carefully as it provides you with important and helpful tips, and recommendations for the safe use of your device.

Rating Label or Card

Essential information such as brand and model are clearly indicated in the manual. This information may be requested by your insurer or municipality, or if you plan to participate in a rebate program. In addition, you will find information on safety and performance certifications, efficiency and emissions ratings, BTUs and serial number, etc. or instructions on where to find this information on the appliance.


This section explains important information for you and your installer on clearances from combustibles, chimney or venting installation and more. This information will be useful to you or your contractor for planning or finishing after installation.


In this section, the manufacturer guides you to the optimal operation of the device, the location and use of the combustion air control lever or dampers and lighting instructions on woodburning appliances, remote control operation and lighting procedures on gas hearth appliances and more.

Servicing & Maintenance

While maintenance instructions and checklists are included in the manual for basic cleaning instructions and for checking the appliance we recommend you have your appliance inspected and serviced annually by a qualified technician. A professional service technician can perform a complete cleaning and inspection giving you piece of mind.

Lists of Replacement Parts

In this section you will find a complete list of replacement parts. All you need to do is contact your specialty hearth retailer if you need to have a part replaced.


This section provides information on the manufacturer’s warranty, provides instructions for dealing with problems and gives you the procedure to follow to register your device.

Keep your manual on hand. If you sell your property, do not forget to give it to the new owners.

Choosing Your Fireplace

Choosing Your Fireplace

Looking for a wood or gas fireplace? If you are thinking about adding a hearth appliance to your home or replacing an existing appliance you will want to consider which appliance makes the most sense for your space and your lifestyle. You will want your new fireplace to suit your décor, and there are many options when it comes to style, including contemporary and traditional looks. Woodburning and gas appliances both offer a variety of design elements to consider, such as linear and rectangular configurations, and see-through and three-or-four-sided bay fronts. The type of appliance installation is also an important factor in choosing the right fireplace for you. There are three options available.

Built-in Fireplaces

Even without a chimney, you can have a fireplace! The zero clearance fireplace allows you to place an appliance just about anywhere. This type of pre-fabricated fireplace is usually used in situations where there is no existing fireplace installation. You simply need a wall. Most zero clearance appliances are safe to install within inches of combustible material such as drywall and wood, and your qualified hearth specialist will direct you in to choosing the correct appliance for your situation. Depending on the location of the appliance and the fuel requirements, the exhaust pipe will exit directly through the wall or through the roof. Zero clearance wood or gas fireplaces offer excellent installation flexibility. Once you’ve chosen, have it installed by a qualified professional and finalize the decor to your taste.

Fireplace Inserts

A fireplace insert, or built-in fireplace, is a factory-built metal box that is designed to be installed in the existing cavity of a masonry or open fireplace. The insert turns your old, inefficient fireplace into an efficient, cleaner burning one, saving you money and providing much more effective heating. You’ll find many options available in this category of appliance, including style and fuel options.

Free-standing Stoves

Traditionally, free-standing stoves tended to be relegated to the basement and were mainly used for heating. Today, the stove, whether wood, gas or pellet, has many advantages. Installation usually does not require much finishing work. Modern stoves are now much more beautiful, efficient, and cleaner burning than ever before. Indeed, the stove is back in fashion and manufacturers have designed exciting new stoves with great new looks. Stoves are now counted among high-end appliances and are popular with design professionals.

You can now distinguish between the three types of hearth appliances and make the best choice for your home. Visit a HPBAC Specialty Hearth Retailer to see all the wonderful possibilities or visit manufacturer and local retailer websites.

Ottawa Wood Burning Changeout Program Provides Incentives to Replace Inefficient Appliances

OTTAWA – Today, the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association of Canada, with funding support from the City of Ottawa, launched the Ottawa Wood Burning Changeout Program. The program, open to all rural residents of Ottawa, provides a financial incentive in the form of a rebate to encourage residents to replace an old, inefficient wood burning appliance with a new, certified appliance.

Pre-1992 wood stoves have limited controls on smoke emissions. In contrast, today’s modern stoves and fireplaces cut emissions by over 70 percent. Installing CSA/EPA-certified wood burning appliances have dramatic impacts on the indoor and outdoor air quality of communities, and woodstove changeout programs are proven to incentivize investment. In addition to the environmental benefit, there is also a financial benefit to home owners, as new appliances are more efficient, requiring less wood to produce the same amount of heat.

The program provides a rebate of up to 25% of the cost of purchasing and installing a new, certified wood burning appliance, to a maximum cap of $750. The program also benefits Ottawa area businesses, which serve as the exclusive retailers for the program. Applicants will also be required to prove that their old outgoing appliance is properly disposed of, to ensure that they are permanently removed from circulation.

“This program is a very practical investment that will have a positive and measurable environmental impact, both in the short and long-term,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “Having Ottawa businesses as exclusive retailers shows how environmental and economic benefits don’t have to be at odds with one another.”

The program will also feature a number of educational sessions on best burning practices, proper use of the appliances, proper preparation and storage of fuel, and more. For full program details, list of participating retailers, and to apply, residents should visit hpbacanada.org/ottawachangeoutprogram.

“Residents in our rural communities will really appreciate the chance to have a new appliance that provides the same comfortable heat, using less fuel than their old appliance, and with greatly reduced emissions,” said Councillor Eli El-Chantiry, Chair of the City of Ottawa’s  Agriculture & Rural Affairs Committee. “And the fact that these new appliances all come from small, local Ottawa businesses makes the program ideal.”

The Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association of Canada is the national not-for-profit industry association that represents businesses which produce, sell, or service appliances and accessories in the hearth and barbecue industries in Canada.



Adam De Caire
Director, Public Affairs
Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association of Canada