If you have the means, aka the availability and the money, to buy kiln-dried firewood, do it! While it’s not the most practical application for bonfires, kiln-dried firewood boasts some big benefits for heating your home or for use anywhere a chimney is involved.
In short, kiln-dried firewood, as the name implies, is firewood that has been cut, split, and dried in a kiln. A kiln is nothing more than a giant oven and a dehumidifier combined into one. Commercial operations make it possible to dry thousands of pounds of lumber in a matter of days instead of months or years with traditional seasoning.
Benefits of Kiln Dried Firewood
Although the cost is about 30%-50% more than regular seasoned wood of the same species, you might find the benefits will save you some hassle in the future.
No insects, fungus, molds, or other pests
A wood kiln can reach temperatures well above 200F and will stay at these high temperatures for several days. This is necessary to draw almost all of the moisture out of the wood. As a result, this kills any insects, fungus, and molds in the process.
This ensures the wood is clean. As long as it stays out of contact with rain or other moisture, the wood will remain free from rot or deterioration.
Can be stored indoors
This is ideal for people who do not want to build a separate structure or mess with wood covers to protect their firewood from the elements. If you have some open space in your garage or basement, the wood can be safely stored there. Since the heat of the kiln killed off any bugs or other pests, you can rest assured knowing they won’t be tracked into your home.
This is an especially valuable benefit if you share your bonfire wood with wood for your fireplace. No more trips out into the cold and the wood burns cleaner, which we’ll explain more of below.
Whether or you store your indoors or outdoors, it's best to keep it elevated from the ground to protect it from rain, spills, and from insects making it their new home.
It weighs less
The difference in weight isn’t apparent with just one log, but over hundreds of logs, that weight is easily felt. Because of lower moisture content, each log weighs anywhere from 5%-10% less than what a regular seasoned log would. This makes it easier to carry more wood in between trips from your wood storage to the party area.
Produces less creosote and smoke
Compared to seasoned wood, kiln-dried wood will generally produce less creosote and smoke. This means less build-up in any chimney structure and a more pleasant outdoor fire. Kiln-dried lumber is anywhere from 5-10% dryer than regularly seasoned wood. This allows the fibers in the wood to burn more efficiently with fewer particulars and other natural chemicals, leaving as smoke.
Ready to burn as soon as you get it
You could argue seasoned firewood is the same, but you never know what you’re going to get with various sellers online. Not to mention if it has rained recently in your area or the firewood is even slightly damp, you’ll have a tough time lighting that wood.
As soon as you receive kiln-dried wood, you’ll know it’s ready to go. Again, just make sure that wherever you store it, it’s also protected from rain, moisture, or bugs.
Practical Applications for Kiln Dried Firewood
Generally speaking, if all you are doing is hosting a few backyard fires a month and seasoned firewood is available, your dollar will go a lot farther there. There are other ways to reduce the smoke coming from your fire pit, rather than spending your money on premium firewood.
Kiln-dried firewood is ideal for those who wish to store their firewood indoors or use firewood that has a chimney component, like a fireplace or chimenea. The same goes for using a wood stove to heat your home.
If you travel in an RV or go camping often and bring your own wood, you must bring kiln-dried lumber. Some recreational areas may not allow you to bring your own because regular seasoned or green firewood from one area can quickly transfer tree-killing insects and diseases.
Believe it or not, the impact is huge and can destroy whole forests and even bring down property values. It’s recommended to buy wood at your destination, but if you insist on bringing your own, bring kiln-dried. Do not bring any old wood.
Kiln-Dried Firewood Cost
As mentioned earlier, you will be paying a premium for kiln-dried wood. Price varies depending on supply, demand, season, energy costs, etc. but expect to pay around 30%-50% more per cord of wood.