If you buy firewood from your dealer, it is typically expected that what you have bought are green firewood. What this means is that these woods are not yet seasoned. There is still moisture in them and burning them is not an ideal option for you to do.
It is expected that you will need to dry them, at least one summer season to make them fit for burning in the coming winter season.
But how can you dry your firewood? Are there definite steps that you need to perform?
Actually there are some basic steps you need to master and be an expert so you can dry your firewood effectively. Drying firewood usually entails stacking them properly and storing them in a place where they can be protected from rain and winter snow.
Here in this article, we will walk you through tips and tricks on how to dry firewood.
If you follow these tips, your next winter season will go smoothly sans the trouble of burning unseasoned firewood. During this time, you can expect a warmth heat from your firewood comforting you in the cold winter season.
Dried firewood for burning effectively
For efficient burning, it’s expected that you’ll dry your wood until its moisture content is less than 20%. Wood is basically tiny long tubes wherein water is locked within its cell walls. A freshly cut wood for example has 30% moisture in it as free water easily evaporates.
Firewood that has higher moisture level than 20% is difficult to light and may have trouble burning.
Additionally, when you burn wood with this level of moisture, it will make even your efficient wood-burning stove have difficulty burning them. The heat that is generated by burning is used instead for drying the excess moisture in the wood and also can lead to producing creosote.
Ideal Time to Drying Wood
The ideal duration of time to dry firewood is one summer season, which usually last to six months – though there are type of woods that can take up to 1 to 2 years to dry depending on its species; this is also the reason why exact duration of drying wood is still debatable.
During this span of time, it is expected that the moisture level in the firewood is around 15 to 20 percent. This level is what the Wood Heat Organization recommends as perfect for wood burning.
Splitting, Stacking and Storing Firewood to Dry
A faster way to dry your firewood is splitting them.
Firewood that has protective bark usually dry slowly as the bark prevents the moisture in the wood to evaporate. You can only expect the firewood to dry faster when it is cut and split.
When the wood is already in small pieces, there will be more parts of the wood that is exposed to air and thus will make it dry faster. You must also expect that firewood that have dense wood structure, like the elm and oak, will dry slower compared, for example, with birch and ash.
When you are done with splitting the woods, it is now time to stack them. It will not help if you will only leave your firewood in a pile on the ground as there will be not enough air to dry them down.
Moreover, this can also lead to insect infestation and variety of small animals living in it.
The best way to stack firewood is choose an open place where the sun can warm and at the same time where the wind can blow through them.
A good way to stack woods or log is through the use of pre-built wood rack.
You can purchase one but make sure it is sturdy enough to support all your logs. Be sure also that the ground where you put your stack is level and dry.
The best place where you can store your logs or firewood would be outdoors, though don’t forget to cover them with a tarp so it is protected from rain.
If you have chosen to store your logs in a wood shed, you don’t need to cover them. This storage area should be at least 25 feet from your house to prevent it from staining and making the side of your house rot.
It is also advised that you don’t spray insecticides on your logs. Burning logs that have been sprayed with insecticides is not safe for your health. Proper stacking and storage is enough in preventing insect infestation happening in your logs.
When to Know if Wood is Already Dry
Beginners in drying firewood usually miss telling whether a wood is already dry or not. But with constant practice, one can learn like second nature how to tell whether firewood is seasoned or not.
There are those who utilize wood moisture meter to do this but usually knowing the right indicators is enough to accurately know whether stacked firewood is already dry and ready for burning.
Here are some basic indicators if your logs are already dry:
- There are checks and cracks in the wood that indicates dryness. These usually shows when the firewood is starting to dry.
- Usually dry wood weighs lighter than wet wood.
- The bark begins to separate and fall from the wood. A seasoned or dry firewood will usually have more wood and without bark.
- The color of the wood turn from white to yellow or grey.
- Dry wood usually produce hollow sound when knocked with other wood. Wet wood usually produce dull sound.
- If you can’t tell whether the firewood is already dry or not, burn some. Dry firewood would easily fire while unseasoned firewood is difficult to make a fire and usually hisses.
Getting your green firewood ready for burning will take some time and some preparation.
It is advisable if you buy your logs six months or a year before use. You also need to stack them properly and store in a place where the sun and air can dry them.
When you are able to do this, then you will have an optical wood burning comes winter season.