You will get the most from your firewood and firepit if the wood is dry when you want to light a fire. Firewood is considered dry and ready-to-use when its moisture is less than 18%. The moisture percentage in firewood is directly related to the firewood's weight.
How Do You Know if Firewood is Dry Enough To Burn?
There are a number of ways to determine if your firewood is dry enough.
- The Soap Test: Start by putting a small amount of soap at one end of the firewood. Then, place your mouth close to the other end and blow down the log. If the firewood is dry, you will see bubbles. When the wood is dry, it allows air to pass through its channels as you blow.
- The Sound Check: You can bang two pieces of wood together and base their level of dryness on the sound. If the firewood has too much water, it makes a dull sound. If the wood is dry, the wood creates a hard and ringing sound. However, this test is limited and does not alert you how dry the core of the wood is.
- The Sight Check: You can look at the firewood to determine if it is ready for your firepit. It should be dry if the wood appears dry, hard, and clean with dry cracks at the ends. In addition, you want to ensure the firewood does not have mold or smell like resin.
- A Precise Tool: A wood moisture meter is a tool that determines the moisture content in firewood. This is the most precise way to determine if the firewood is dry.
What is the Optimal Dryness To Use?
When you first cut wood, it has a high moisture content. The typical moisture content of freshly cut wood is often around 100%, which is too high to burn in a fire pit and can lead to excess steam and smoke. For optimal burning, you want your firewood to have a moisture content of less than 20%. It is preferable for the moisture level to be about 10%.
What Are Some Ways To Dry Firewood?
If your firewood is not dry enough, there are some ways you can dry it more. First, you should know what type of wood you use for firewood. Each type of wood takes a different amount of time to season and dry out. Softer woods, such as pine, take much less time than harder wood like oak. It is best to gather your wood in the summer. This is when the sun is available and hot, helping to dry wood faster. Finally, you should know when you plan to use the wood and ensure you start the process early enough so your firewood will be ready.
When you cut the firewood, you want to cut them all the same, or similar, size. It would be best to cut them to the standard size, about 16 inches in length. This allows the firewood to fit in a smaller firepit and on a smaller firewood rack.
You always want to keep your firewood outside and in the sunlight. When it is inside, it will not dry properly. If you live in an area that rains often, consider a shed or barn as long as the wood gets airflow.
When you stack the firewood, you want to make sure none of the firewood touches the ground. You want to stack them where they get plenty of light and air. You also want to protect your firewood from snow and rain by covering it. When you cover your firewood, you want to ensure the ends remain uncovered to provide maximum airflow while letting moisture escape.
What to Avoid with Firewood?
You want to ensure you do not use wood from a dying or dead tree. This type of firewood does not burn properly. Do not burn painted wood, as this has potentially dangerous chemicals. You do not want to burn wood with poison ivy or other toxic vines - the smoke from these vines is just as hazardous as the vines themselves.