How To Dry Firewood
Why does dry firewood matter?
Wood that hasn’t been dried ultimately produces less heat and more smoke than dried wood. Also, depending on how green or moist the wood is, it may be difficult to ignite it. It is best to have firewood that has less than 20-25% moisture content. That’s difficult to know when purchasing wood. So, ask the seller how long the wood has been seasoned or dried and then look for large cracks in the ends of the logs. The larger and more defined these are, the drier the wood.
Tip: Wood that hasn’t been dried is called green wood because the inside of the wood can sometimes appear green.
What type of wood can be used for firewood?
There are a lot of different types of firewood. It is important to pick the right firewood for your needs because every type burns differently.
There are two main types of dry firewood: hardwood and softwood. Hardwoods are typically a lot denser than softwood, so they usually burn for longer periods of time and produce a lot more heat. They also tend to be less sticky and are less likely to cause tar buildups. Hardwoods are best used when you want a lingering, hot fire.
There are many types of hardwood, but some of the most popular are Oak, Maple, Walnut, Ash, and Birch. The downside to hardwoods is their price tag and availability.
Softwoods are great for any outdoor fire because they ignite quickly. They are also great for outdoor fires because they emit more smoke. Some popular softwoods are Cedar, Fir, and Larch.
Both softwood and hardwood are great for fires, but be sure to steer clear of the following types of wood:
- Treated or painted wood of any kind
- Wood that is still green on the inside
How to dry firewood
The most important thing to consider when drying or seasoning firewood is how you will store it. Ideally, any firewood being used was cut months before you burn it. So, it needs to be stored correctly during that time.
Firewood should be stored in a place where the wood can feel air circulating around it from all sides. This is important because wood can reabsorb water, so constant airflow is necessary to dry your wood. Wood can also absorb water from the land, so if you have moist soil, consider stacking your firewood on a pallet or tarp.
Don’t store your wood in an area with walls; it is best to store wood in an enclosure with a roof only. This way airflow isn’t blocked, but wood is protected from rain and other precipitation.
How long should you let your wood dry out? Well that depends on the type of wood, but if stored correctly, wood should be dried for 6-9 months before use. Research your specific type of wood to be sure you are drying it long enough. Even though it may be safe to burn wood after a 6-9 month drying period, there is no rush to use your wood. Wood can be used up to 4 years after the drying process has begun.