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How to Store & Dry Your Wood

Whether you have your own supply of timber or you're buying wood in bulk, you will want to create a store to ensure that you have dry wood with the right moisture content for burning in your stove.

Moisture Content

When choosing the wood to burn in your stove, it is recommended that you should only burn wood/logs with a moisture content below 20{aa69ab7c86764e4f99c9ef196dbe496fc15b75e761e13a2a737eb6a807f31b17} and here's why;

  • Moisture content has the greatest effect on the calorific value of the wood; the more moisture in the wood the more energy is used to boil away the water and the fire will smoulder and create a lot of tar and smoke emissions.   A fresh green log has only around half the energy content of an equivalent, well
    seasoned log. Therefore dry wood gives you more heat.
  • A smouldering fire is not a hot fire. The build up of tar can accumulate quickly, damaging the lining/flue increasing the potential for a chimney fire. You will notice that the glass on your stove will blacken as well, even if your stove is designed to keep the glass clean.
Tar in Flue
Badly tarred flue. The client had been burning wood with high moisture content

 

Allow Time for Drying

Whether you are felling your own trees or buying green wood to store and dry you need to make sure that you plan ahead to give the wood time to dry out.   Trees felled during the winter months don't retain as much moisture as they do in the summer and generally, once stored correctly, wood will need at least two summers to dry to below 20{aa69ab7c86764e4f99c9ef196dbe496fc15b75e761e13a2a737eb6a807f31b17} moisture content. Here are a few tips for making sure your wood is going to dry as quickly as possible;

  • cut the wood into lengths that are suitable for your log burner.
  • split the wood to create more surface area.
  • make sure your wood shed is not too enclosed, air needs to be able to flow to assist with the drying process.
  • raise the wood off the ground using bearers or old pallets, this allows the air to circulate.
  • allow a gap between the wood and any walls, again to allow the air to circulate.
  •  stack the wood but not too tightly.

Wood Shed

Clearview Wood Shed

 

Is My Wood Dry Enough to Burn?

It's a good question - how do you know when your wood is dry enough to burn!  There are some tell tale signs that your wood is drying out nicely;

Wood

  • Colour - drying timber fades over time.
  • Weight - as the wood dries it becomes lighter as the moisture content lessons.
  • Hardness - dry wood is harder and stronger than green wood.
  • Bark - the bark will be come looser and can fall off.
  • Cracking - dry wood will have cracks.
  • Sound - green wood makes a dull thud when stuck against another piece, whereas a dry log will make a more hollow sound when two pieces are hit together.

The best way to check moisture content is to use a moisture meter (available from our showroom).  If your wood is ready to burn it will give you a reading of between 10-20{aa69ab7c86764e4f99c9ef196dbe496fc15b75e761e13a2a737eb6a807f31b17}.  It is a good way of monitoring the drying out process throughout the year too!

For more information on the type of wood that is best for burning, take a look at our blog, What wood should I burn in my wood burning stove?