Are you sick of struggling to start your fires and getting smoked out around the fire pit?
Wouldn’t it be nice if your wood was always dry!
Let’s talk about what makes firewood dry and why it’s important.
You can dry firewood in two ways. Either it is naturally seasoned and exposed to the elements, or it is kiln-dried.
For optimal burning, you want your firewood to sit between 8-18% moisture level. When firewood is seasoned correctly, it will ignite easily, release less smoke, and burn hotter because it won’t lose energy to the wood’s moisture.
These are the 5 Firewood Secrets about seasoned and kiln-dried firewood.
1. Seasoned firewood and kiln-dried firewood are not the same when dry.
When you kiln dry firewood, you ensure no pests, disease, or insects inside the wood. Naturally, seasoned wood sits out in the elements, exposed to pests, insects and disease. It is important to pay attention to your firewood and determine if you are using a type of wood at risk of any complications. Quality firewood seasoned or kiln-dried will be free of any insects, pests, disease, dirt or mold.
2. Both seasoned firewood and kiln-dried firewood will burn efficiently at optimal moisture levels.
As long as your firewood is at an optimal moisture level, it will burn efficiently. It takes much longer to dry wood naturally. However, eventually, it will be, burn ready. Using a kiln flash dries the firewood so that you can expedite the drying process to an optimal level and burn right away.
3. Kiln-dried firewood does not always mean it is adequately dried.
The kiln only increases the speed of drying. The operator of the kiln is the one who ensures the wood is at an optimal level. Even kiln-dried wood, if done improperly, could still be wet. This problem is very uncommon but possible.
4. Naturally, seasoned wood can burn longer.
It is common for naturally seasoned wood to take longer to burn. It burns longer because, on average, a naturally seasoned piece of wood will have more moisture than kiln-dried wood. The kiln can bring wood to as low as 3-5% moisture. A naturally seasoned piece of firewood generally won’t drop below 8% moisture. You want some moisture inside your wood to provide a small amount of resistance when burning. The small amount of moisture allows your wood to burn longer and hotter without burning up super fast. That is why the optimal moisture level is 8-18%.
5. Wood has to be kiln-dried to be premium quality.
You can have premium quality firewood that is seasoned or kiln-dried. The main determining factor is that the firewood is dry and burn ready. When buying seasoned wood, it’s not important how long the wood has been seasoning for but what percentage of moisture is left in the wood. Different storage habits can dramatically change how fast wood dries, which is why time is only a small factor. To be positive that the firewood is dry, you should always ask about the firewood moisture percentage.
Kiln dried and seasoned firewood can create some arbitrary misconceptions in the firewood industry. Both methods of drying can yield quality and premium firewood. The thing to remember is that your firewood should have moisture between 8-18%. That moisture percentage ensures you’ll have a good experience burning your firewood no matter what process your distributor is using to dry their firewood.