Your firewood should always be as dry as possible. Not only is it very tricky to get a fire started with wet or damp wood, but it also does not burn with as much heat. Furthermore, it can be detrimental to your chimney, creating a lot of soot and creosote that can potentially lead to chimney fires. In this post we will explain how to season firewood.
What is seasoning?
Seasoning is the process wood goes through to extract its moisture content. The less moisture, the better the wood will burn – simple. The moisture content will need to be brought down to 25-20% from common values of 45-30%. The best way to achieve the correct moisture content is to split your logs to allow them to dry quicker. The length of time it takes to season firewood will also depend on the type of wood. Ideally, denser types of hardwood could do with being seasoned for one to two years, Meanwhile, lighter types of wood, particularly softwood, will season in around 6-12 months.
You can use a moisture gauge (hydrometer) to test the moisture content in your firewood. There are a lot of moisture gauges on the market, so deciding on the right gauge can be confusing. We recommend the Stihl moisture gauge.
When to fell a tree for firewood
If you are going to have a live tree felled for firewood, the best time to do this is in the winter months. This is because the tree’s sap will not have risen yet due to the tree being dormant. At the start of spring, the sap in the tree will start rising, which means the timber will take longer to season.
Where to season
When firewood has been left to season, it needs to be protected from the rain and should be raised off the ground. Importantly, air needs to be able to circulate around the wood to enable it to dry efficiently. Pallets are useful for keeping firewood raised as it seasons. If you are storing the wood in a log store, we recommend the sides have openly vented slats to give sufficient airflow. When using a tarpaulin, always make sure the wood is not completely covered. This will allow sufficient ventilation. It is also good practice to stack firewood to enable air to circulate as much as possible.
Using bags to store firewood
The classic builders’ ton bag that we use for storing and transporting logs actually aids the seasoning process better than you might think. But there is one important thing to remember… Always make small holes in the sides of the bag, roughly an inch-square… This will ensure that air can continue to circulate during storage. And importantly, always make sure to place the holes in an eccentric configuration at least ten inches apart to ensure the bag does not lose its strength.
If you would like to purchase high quality, seasoned firewood with free delivery, simply contact us by phone or email now.