Even beginners can learn how to tell if firewood is seasoned, but you need to know what you are looking for.
To tell if firewood is seasoned, start with appearance. Seasoned firewood is generally darker and has a drier appearance. It may have cracks or peeling bark, and it feels lighter than fresh logs of the same size and shape. Using a moisture meter is helpful with wood that is harder to identify.
Keep reading as we explore the signs of seasoned and unseasoned firewood. We also look at some basic tips to help you dry out wood faster, as well as identify the importance of using seasoned firewood.
What Is Drywood?
Drywood is simply the opposite of what we call ‘Greenwoods’. It refers to the moisture content in the wood itself. The moisture content of the wood (%) indicates the amount of water contained in the wood.
Why Is Dry Firewood So Important?
It is important to use dry and seasoned wood to achieve excellent combustion and to maximize the benefits of your wood stove. Otherwise, it might lead to severe odds for health and the environment.
Wondering how? Here are 3 reasons why burning green wood is bad–
- The dry firewood calorific value is higher than the wet wood. That means if the wood used is wet, your appliances will heat up less well. This is a shame because if you decide to use a wood stove is that you want to enjoy optimal comfort during the winter.
- When using damp wood, do not be surprised if your wood stove generates more ash, pollutants, and smoke. So, the use of wet wood is harmful to the environment and a source of nuisance to neighbors.
- Seasoned greenwood is more likely to build up creosote over time, which is highly prohibited for healthy breathing.
How to Tell If The wood is Seasoned and Okay to Burn??
This simple test requires only a small amount of dish-washing liquid. Here are the steps-
- Apply some washing liquid on the one end of your log
- Place your mouth on the opposite end of the log and blow through.
- Check for the presence of bubbles/foams. If the liquid makes bubbles or foam, then the wood is sufficiently dry.
When the wood comes to be dry, the air can freely pass through each end of a log.
You can determine the dryness by hitting two logs against each other. Take two logs of equal sizes while striking these two logs against each other.
If the wood is dry, the sound will Create resonance. If the wood is wet, the logs will create a gentle sound.
Be careful because this test gives a superficial indication of the level of humidity. Thus, unable to prove precisely.
This the method of evaluating moisture content with your naked eyes. Seasoned firewood must be odorless, clean, hard, having cracked at the ends, mold-free or fungi-free, appear growth rings, and light in color. Also, Dry woods have the bare spot and loose bark that can be removed easily.
If your wood meets these criteria, it is a sign that it is seasoned and ready to use in the wood-burning stove.
Dry wood is lighter than green wood because of its less moisture content. You may take it to consider during the test.
Dry firewood is harder that makes it very difficult to chop or split. You can try to split the wood with an axe. If the axe can easily split the wood, then it is not dry enough. You can also observe the sound that will create when you hit the wood with axe. Moreover, you may touch the wood after splitting to understand the dryness and wetness.
You can test your firewood to burn a piece of wood at outdoor. Damp woods don’t want to burn easily. As a result, green damp wood produces a lot of smoke. The less amount of smoke indicates the dryness of your firewood.
Using a moisture meter can be an effective tool that accurately measures the moisture contents of wood.
How to use it? Here are the steps-
- Take measurements on several logs from different parts of the wood.
- Split a log in half and measure the moisture on the heart of the log.
- If the humidity is less than 20% the firewood is ready to use.
Here is the list of best moisture meters for firewood. You can pick one for your next purchase-
How to Check Moisture Content of Wood Without Meter
Instead of spending bucks after a moisture meter or so, you can try a DIY method for it. This is known as the oven drying method.
Determining Moisture Content By Oven Drying Method
Items You Need
- A sample of the wood(approximately 100gm)
- A weight measuring scale
- An oven that is holding the temperature at 103 °c
- Weight your sample of wood.
- Heat your sample into the oven and set temperature 103 °c
- After the expected drying time weight again.
- Put your sample back into the oven for one more hour.
- Weight again. If the weight is less than the last measurement. Keep it back into the oven for an hour.
- Weight it again. Repeat this process until the weight stays the same as the previous weight. That weight is the oven-dry weight.
- Now Initial weight – Oven dry weight and divide it by the oven-dry weight. Multiply the result by 100.
- Boom! You will get the firewood moisture content.
For more about the oven-dry Method download The PDF
Signs of Wet Firewood
All wet wood is difficult to burns, less powerful. Therefore produces less heat. If your wood is wet, it will sizzle when heated because the water in the wood boils.
Moreover, damp wood will release black smoke from the chimney. On the other hand, dry wood fumes will be white.
How to Identify The Best Quality Wood to Burn?
It is advisable to buy the best quality wood from specialized firewood dealers. They will be able to inform some tracks helping you in your choice
When buying, do not hesitate to inquire about the cutting period, the previous storage conditions, and especially the moisture content of firewood. Dry wood should have a moisture content of less than 20% (the ideal moisture content is 12 to 15%). If possible, check this rate with a moisture meter.
Characteristics of Dry Firewood:
- A yellowing color
- Ends with cracks
- Bark peels easily
- Very light Weight
- The absence of molds, fungi, larvae, and worms
You should dry firewood for a minimum of 12 – 18 months before use. To dry the damp logs, cut them into small pieces and place them in a suitable woodshed to speed up for the drying process. Make sure that you cover the top of the shelter (use a tarpaulin if necessary) to preserve logs from rain or humidity. Also, be sure to keep the sides of the shelter open to help the flow of air and speed up the drying process.
Store your firewood in a shelter designed for this purpose and not against the wall of your house. It will slow down the drying process and help to attract vermin.
There are different types of best wood for combustion, each burning differently and having various characteristics and benefits. For example, softwood such as pine offers shortened combustion and intensified fire, and hardwood such as oak and beech burn much more slowly and at length.
By learning how to tell if firewood is seasoned, you can prevent major health and safety hazards. Seasoned firewood burns most efficiently, providing you with the light and heat you need from the wood.
If you have issues spotting seasoned firewood, no one will fault you for using a moisture meter. In fact, this is the quickest and easiest way to reliably determine the usability of your wood.
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