Reduce Emissions

Firewood Tips for Cleaner Air

Make sure your firewood is dry this season!

The sooner you get your wood in, the better chance you have of making sure it is adequately dry before you burn it this winter. Firewood requires at least 6 months of curing under dry conditions to be ready to burn. Wood should have less than 20% moisture content when it is burned. If the moisture content is higher, the heat output will be less, you will waste money and time, and you will produce excessive smoke when heating your home.

If you have your wood delivered, make sure you buy wood that will be dry enough to burn this season. Ask your supplier for tips on how to store the firewood on your property for maximum drying.

How to Tell if Your Firewood is Dry

1.     Well-seasoned wood will look weathered or grayish. It won’t be a bright colour. If it appears white or close to its original colour, it is probably still “green” or still full of moisture (sap and water).

2.     “Checks” are the cracks that are visible on the end grain of pieces of cut wood. Checking occurs as wood shrinks during drying.  The presence of checks does not necessarily mean that the wood is fully seasoned, but it does at least mean that the wood is in the process of drying.

3.      Green wood can be composed of up to 50% water. Once the wood is well seasoned, it will be much lighter in weight.  For species such as pine the difference is quite evident. More dense species such as birch are still relatively heavy when dry.

4.     If you are still not sure if the firewood is adequately dry try burning some pieces. If it doesn’t light easily and you notice sizzling, or water coming out of the wood, it’s still too wet and will not burn efficiently or cleanly.

5.     The Golden and District Air Quality Committee has moisture meters to help you measure the moisture content of your firewood. Contact info@goldenairquality for more information.

To reduce toxic smoke from home heating remember:

  • Use only CSA/EPA  approved wood-burning appliances. New-technology appliances are proven to burn 1/3 less wood, to reduce emissions by up to 70%, and to significantly reduce risks of chimney fires.
  • Burn only well-cured wood and store it in a dry, covered outdoor space with plenty of air circulation.
  • Start your fire with paper and small kindling and get it going bright and hot right away.
  • Keep your fire burning hot by ensuring an adequate supply of combustion air.
  • Make sure your chimney is cleaned regularly.
  • Never burn painted or treated wood or garbage of any kind.


Check your chimney regularly for excessive smoke …

… and then take steps to stop it.