Newly chopped firewood contains approximately 60% of water, and sometimes even more. This causes the wood to burn less efficiently. You need to season the wood first in order to allow the water to dry out until the moisture is around 20% or less. Then, it is ready for burning. Seasoning firewood means letting the water content of the wood evaporate. Drying firewood will make it burn easily, safely and efficiently. Burning unseasoned firewood or partially seasoned wood is dangerous. It can cause a fire due to the creosote that can build up in the chimney. It takes time before the wood gets fully dried, but it can be done in an easy way using some tricks and techniques to speed up the process.
- When chopping wood, make the diameter 6-8 inches and 18” long as much as possible. Place the wood outside.
- Pile the wood properly. Put a base under to keep it off the ground and to avoid soil moisture. A pallet is a good base because it is a few inches higher off the ground.
- Put space between the wood stack and the wall to maintain air flow. Using a pallet as the base of your stack will also provide air flow to your stack. Air can speed up the drying process.
- Only cover the top 1 to 2 feet of the stack. Leave the sides open. Covering any more than that inhibits air circulation and moisture release. If the wood is still green, covering more will just hold in the moisture, and prevent air flow. Covering just the top also helps keep rain and snow off the wood pile.
- Place your pile in a location where it can get the most possible sunlight throughout the day.
It can take up to a full year to thoroughly season a pile of wood, so make sure your technique is correct. If you do it right, you’ll have perfectly seasoned wood for your home.