How much moisture should seasoned firewood have?
The best fuel option for any woodstove is split, seasoned wood with a moisture content between 20 and 30 percent.
It's important to burn only wood with moisture content below 20%. Burning wood with higher moisture content creates more smoke, which contains harmful chemicals and particulates and forms creosote on your chimney. It also gives you less heat, because it takes energy to boil off the excess water.
The right band of firewood moisture is between 15 and 20%. When you get much over 20% you start to see symptoms of sluggish ignition and the inability to turn down the air without extinguishing the flames.
For wood to be considered seasoned, it must have a moisture content below 20%, ideally around 10%. We recommend using a moisture meter to accurately measure how seasoned your firewood is.
To test your firewood, split a log and stick the meter's prongs into the wood on the freshly split side. For accuracy, test several pieces of firewood from different places in the woodpile. If the moisture content is below 20% it will burn cleanly and efficiently.
Burning wet wood has two negative consequences:
Your fire will smoke more, causing creosote build up in your stove and chimney. Your wood will burn less efficiently, costing you more to create the same amount of heat.
The Ready to Burn logo means that the supplier has demonstrated by independent testing that their firewood has a moisture content of up to and including 20%.
You should be aware that a moisture reading of 0-15% is quite normal and gives no cause for concern. However, moisture readings in excess of 15% indicate the need for further inspection. Levels between 25-30% indicate that there may be water ingress, meaning that remedial work could be required.
35%-45% of the weight of freshly felled wood is water and trying to burn it will produce steam rather than heat. Drying or “seasoning” reduces the moisture content of the wood. Wood should be seasoned before it is burned and the moisture content reduced to at least 25%.
Stack firewood in a single row up off the ground so the sun and breeze can draw the moisture out the cut ends – most wood has a 30-50% moisture content when cut and you'll need to get it down to around 15-20% before you can burn it efficiently.
How do you dry wet firewood fast?
Cut it to Size - Cut your logs down to the size you'll want in your fire. Split the logs. The more exposed wood, the faster it'll dry out. Let the Air Flow - When stacking wood, make sure there's plenty of airflow around every log.
Ideally, firewood should remain uncovered so it can be properly dried, but this is not practical when rain, snow and ice can quickly coat winter firewood. A good cover over the top of your woodpile will protect it, and be sure the cover is slanted to shed moisture away from the pile's base.
If your kiln-dried logs are slightly wet do not worry. They will naturally dry out quickly and will be fine to use. If your logs have been left wet for a long time, you should check for any that may be rotten.
It can take 3-12 months or longer to season firewood. On average, it usually takes around 6-months to dry out the cut-firewood that you purchased from a store or supplier. Depending on the original timber's moisture content, it can take more or less time to season.
If firewood is seasoned for too long in the wrong conditions then it can cause the wood to go bad and rot rather than remain well-seasoned firewood. If firewood is left seasoning for a longer period of time then it's important to ensure that the wood remains dry.
Burning unseasoned wood in a fireplace is never advisable, because unseasoned wood has a lot of moisture that causes it to smoke much more when burning. In addition, burning unseasoned wood increases the amount of creosote that builds up in your chimney, which can become dangerous.
It could be that your firewood is seasoned but has gotten too cold outside. To solve this issue, bring your firewood in the house in anticipation of using it, so that the logs can warm to room temperature by the time you're ready to burn them.
Once a tree has died, it has already started drying out, so you may not have to season it as long. A dead tree will take about 2 to 3 years to dry out completely, but once it is dry, it starts to rot, which we will touch on momentarily.
Avoid covering all of the firewood with a tarp, and instead, opt to only cover the very top layer of your stack of wood. If your firewood is trapped beneath numerous layers of a tarp, it will not dry properly, which may cause the rotting process to expedite.
Softwoods like fir, pine and cedar make more smoke, and therefore more creosote.
How do you know if firewood is too wet?
How To Tell If Firewood Is Wet. Firewood that is too wet to burn will be harder to light and harder to keep burning, and may produce more smoke than usual. Wet firewood can have moisture visible under the bark or feel wet to the touch, and will have a moisture content level higher than 20%.
When we refer to seasoned timber, we are usually referring to timber that has moisture contents in the range from 9% to 14%.
Softwoods season more quickly, taking a year to a year and a half to reach the right moisture level. We recommend around two full years or more for hardwoods. Think of seasoning the way you would for a meal – great seasoning makes the fire much better. There are a few ways you can track the progress of seasoning.
Splitting wood speeds up the drying process. If you need wood to burn in the near future, you better your odds by purchasing wood that's been split. Split wood will also dry out faster than logs in a stack.
A smoldering fire is another sign you are burning wet wood. Dirty or cloudy looking glass doors, and smoke coming from the chimney, are also indicators that either the fire needs more air or your wood is too moist, which creates excessive smoke that lingers inside and outside.
- Osage orange, 32.9 BTUs per cord.
- Shagbark hickory, 27.7 BTUs per cord.
- Eastern hornbeam, 27.1 BTUs per cord.
- Black birch, 26.8 BTUs per cord.
- Black locust, 26.8 BTUs per cord.
- Blue beech, 26.8 BTUs per cord.
- Ironwood, 26.8 BTUs per cord.
- Bitternut hickory, 26.5 BTUs per cord.
Does Burning Wood Make it Stronger? When timber is heated within the flames of a fire, the grains of the timber are fused even tighter together, resulting in a stronger, more durable board.
Seasoned wood is wood that has been thoroughly dried for a proper amount of time. It can be wood that has been cut down right on your property, stored in a dried place and allowed to dry for a minimum of six months.