Do you have freshly cut wood and wondering how long does firewood take to dry? This could be a new phenomenon if you are new to burning firewood. But, it is important to take the time and learn all the nooks and crannies of burning firewood.
Why? Because burning a freshly cut piece of firewood, you just dragged from your backyard, no matter how cold it is and heat is needed, will only lead to pure disappointment and smoky rooms. In the same breath, knowing whether the firewood you are buying from your local store is dry is vital as it helps you learn and prepare in advance to season it.
Freshly cut trees contain at least 50% moisture content. It means about half of the tree's weight is only attributed to water. That's because trees absorb water through their roots for survival, which takes a long time to dry out.
As such, the best type of firewood to burn is a dry one because:
- It's easier to light
- It is hotter & more efficient when burning
- Has less smoke
- Produces better smell
But, how do you go about seasoning your firewood and ensuring that it is dry and ready the next time it is needed?
How Long Does Firewood Take To Dry?
Firewood is only considered dry or well seasoned for use when it has a moisture level of 20% and below. Therefore, experts will mostly advise you to ensure it has a moisture level of at least 15% to 20%. At this level, the wood burns faster, efficiently and you do not have to deal with bouts of smoke.
It's pretty hard to tell the moisture level of your firewood by just looking at it. While the color, odor, weight, bark, and sight of any cracks on the firewood are excellent indicators of whether it is dry or not, these are not enough to tell whether it has achieved the ideal moisture level.
To ensure you burn your firewood when it is has reached the ideal moisture level, it is best to get a moisture meter. It is a little hand-held device with an LCD screen and two prongs at the top. When testing, you will insert the prongs in the area you want to measure the moisture level, and it will appear on the screen. To be sure, you can measure several areas, but measuring the center of the log is the most important part.
The big question, though, is how long it will take for your firewood to dry?
Most firewood will take about 6 to 24 months to dry. That said, there is no one-size-fits-all answer for how long it will take for firewood to dry. Instead, it all depends on several factors, including:
1. The Type Of Wood
Some woods dry faster than others. For example, hardwood is denser than softwood. As such, it will take longer to dry, with most hardwood taking up to two years to season properly.
2. Length of The Log
While many cut logs to fit in their specific fireplaces, it is important to keep in mind that the size of the log also affects its drying process. Longer pieces of wood will take longer to dry than short ones. For example, if you have a standard-sized log and split it into two parts, it will dry in about six months. On the other hand, if your logs are 4-freet or longer, you might be waiting for a year or more for them to dry properly.
3. The Climate
Where you are will also greatly affect the drying time of the wood. For example, if you live in a pretty humid area, your firewood will take longer to dry, possibly more than a year. However, if you live where the air is dry, your wood will dry faster.
4. How You Store The Firewood When Drying
The goal is to store the firewood to ensure maximum airflow throughout. This fastens the drying process. So, instead of leaving the firewood lying on the ground, it is recommended that you stack it up nieces on a rack off the ground. That way, it will enjoy maximum airflow from underneath.
Most importantly, ensure that your stack of wood is not up against the wall. Stacking up on the wall lowers airflow at the back, prolonging the drying time.
Tips For Storing and Drying Wood Quicker
As seen above, burning any wood without a moisture level of 20% and below is not advisable; or useful for that matter. And, while shops sell wood that's purported to be dry, it is not always the case.
For most users, whether you cut down the wood yourself or buy it from a local dealer, there is a possibility you will have to dry it yourself. In addition, knowing how to store your firewood, even if it is dry, is necessary.
Below are tips on how to store your firewood like a pro and have it dry quicker:
1. Cutting It Early
The best time to cut your firewood is early in spring or late in winter. The weather will be getting warmer and less humid during these periods and spill over to the spring and summer seasons. It also gives your firewood at least six to nine months of exposure to heat, which helps in maximizing its drying process.
The weather is less warm during winter and autumn, and your firewood will not have enough time to dry. In that case, you will have to give the firewood at least one more year to dry.
2. Splitting It Into Pieces
Once you have your cut firewood pieces, you should split them further into smaller pieces. Ensure that you do so in sizes that fit your burner.
For instance, if your cut firewood is in cuts, you can split it further into four pieces. First, this gives the firewood pieces better air circulation, increasing their drying rate. Second, it will catch fire faster when you finally get to use it than having a whole round in the firepit.
3. Store Freshly Cut Firewood Outside
When it is warm outside, especially when drying it in summer or spring, ensure you are doing it outside. This ensures your firewood is exposed to the heat for better drying. If you keep it in the shed immediately, it will have less exposure to the heat and lower air circulation. As a result, it will ultimately prolong its drying time by 18 to 24 months, at least.
4. Stack Up The Firewood
Storage of the firewood, even when in the drying process, is important. The best way to go about it is stacking up on the ground loosely and away from the wall, allowing more air to circulate. This will quicken the drying process.
5. Cover It Up
While you can leave it in the open uncovered, it is advisable to cover it up, especially in winter or autumn. That said, the cover, like an iron sheet, should not sit directly on the firewood. You can lay longer pieces of timber on the edges and on the ground where the iron sheet can sit on.
How Can I make Firewood Dry Faster?
If you have wet wood, you can do a few things to make it dry faster. First, ensure that it is appropriately stored, stacked off the ground, and away from any wall for maximum airflow. It would also help if you kept it outside, especially if the weather is warm.
Is It Ok For Firewood To Get Rained On?
While seasoned firewood will dry out in a few days when rained on, it is advisable to store it in a safe area away from the rain. This helps prolong how well it will keep, as regular contact with moisture leads to the firewood going bad.
How Can You Tell If Firewood Is Dry?
The best way to tell whether your firewood is dry is by checking the ends of the woods. Are they cracked and dark in color? If you bang two pieces together, do they produce a hollow sound? If yes, then they are dry. Wet firewood tends to be heavier, with a hard-to-peel bark and visible green color around it.
If you're starting your journey of burning firewood and are wondering how long does firewood take to dry, the answer is it depends. Generally, it should take at least 6 to nine or twelve months. However, where you store the wood, the climate, and the type of wood you have play a significant role in the drying process. Ensure that you keep it where it has airflow, like outside during summer or spring.