If you have a fireplace, the firewood you use and how you store it, is the most important thing about the whole fire you build.
When you purchase wood you can buy it in cords. A cord measures 4 feet by 8 feet. Some dealers sell their cords in “face cords” which are 2 feet by 1 feet as it is much easier to fit in a fireplace. Try to get face cords if you cannot cut the wood yourself.
One of the most important things to ask for is “seasoned wood” if you plan on using it this season. Seasoned wood has been cut, stacked and dried out or cured for at least one year. Fresh cut wood is wet and makes your fire smoky and smelly.
If you must buy fresh firewood, buy enough for next year so that you won’t come across the same problem.
To find out if the wood is seasoned or not, just look at it. If it is freshly cut it will be a pale yellow color. Seasoned wood is a dull gray and has wide cracks running through it.
If you buy a cord of wood, it is best to prepare a spot for storing it. Choose the location carefully. You do not want to have to walk too far from the house on a cold winter day, but you need to allow wind to be able to circulate around the logs to dry it. If possible, the stack needs to face south to get as much sun as possible.
It is best to build a platform to put the wood onto. About 18-20 inches high seems to be high enough to avoid mice and other critters. If you cannot build a platform, at least put tarp under the wood rather than on the cold, wet ground.
When stacking the wood, stack each layer in an opposite direction and leave space between each piece wood to allow it to dry naturally. Place it bark up and be sure to place a sheet or metal roofing over the top to prevent it from getting wet from the elements. Do leave the sides open to allow circulation.
If you follow these easy directions, you will have a great pile of firewood for many years to come.