Everyone loves a bargain, but how about heating your home for free? With a bit of preparation, it can be done – and summer is the perfect time of year to start.
It’s when people are tidying up their gardens, and that can include pruning/cutting down trees. For the non-stove/open fire owner, getting rid of the off cuts and tree stumps can be a real pain.
Each year, I ask friends and neighbours to let me know if they’ve got any stumps or thick branches, and I’ll happily take them away for nothing.
It also pays to keep your eyes peeled when out and about. Recently, on a trip to the local tip, I even accosted a chap who was about to throw away a large tree stump. Thankfully, he was more than happy to help divert it into the boot of my car. Back home, I spent a pleasant afternoon chopping up my haul into smaller pieces, ready to be seasoned. This amount of wood may have set me back £20 had I gone to a fuel merchant, but I got it for gratis.
Generally, I leave wood for between 18 to 24 months before throwing it on the fire. This ensures the wood is nice and dry, and will burn efficiently.
Wet wood, or wood which has been treated with either lacquers or paints, is bad news for chimneys. They produce massive amounts of smoke which in turn create tar and creosote deposits in chimneys. This increases the risk of a chimney fire. In short, don’t do it.
Moisture meters are available on the market, and these enable you to test the levels of dryness in your wood. A 20% reading is considered the best, as the wood is well seasoned, but not too dry that it burns very quickly.
Another way of checking is by simply picking up your wood. If it feels light, and has a hollow sound when knocked against another piece of seasoned wood, it is probably ready to be burned.
So best of luck with your wood hunting exploits and, as always, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me and I’ll do my best to assist.
Mr Soot Chimney Sweep offers a professional and friendly chimney sweep service in Wigan, Stockport, Southport, Ormskirk, Chorley, Warrington, South Preston and surrounding areas. Book Mr Soot online or call 0800 0541154.