How To Dry Wood

lots of dry wood stacked up
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Drying wood at home ready for winter

If you’re a wood burning stove novice, here are our tips on how to dry wood and begin to use your stove like a well seasoned pro. So, ‘what are the benefits of drying wood at home?’, I hear you ask. Well, let me shed some light on this very question. Drying your own firewood can help cut down your heating expenses – and in this day and age, this a massive perk to any household, particularly if you are on a budget. If you have the space and ability, you can cut the wood for yourself, or purchase it from a wood purveyor.

How to dry wood at home:

Start the process early

Drying wood is a slow process. It takes time, so making sure you start the process early is key. Particularly if you want to enjoy your newly installed wood burning stove in the winter. It is recommended that you cut wood in the spring, or earliest part of the summer. This will give the wood enough time to adequately dry in time. The drier the wood, the better it will burn. But, the timescale for drying wood differs slightly depending on the cut and type of wood. It is widely understood and worth considering that oak and birch take longer to dry.

Make sure to cut the right size

This will sound like an obvious tip, but it is important to make sure that you cut and split logs to a size that will fit comfortably into your stove. There would be nothing worse than finding out you’ve been drying wood for six months to then discover it is too small, or too large!

Find a suitable place to dry

When storing wood, the best option for housing it is to place it in an outdoor shed. Preferably with a roof to keep the wood dry without stifling necessary fresh air. There is often a tendency to store wood in a shed that is shut off from the outside to protect it from pests, but this isn’t beneficial to the drying process. To sufficiently dry wood there needs to be an air flow. Without this it can cause mould buildup as air is not being circulated properly throughout the stack of wood.

Stack it properly

Space is essential for proper and effective wood drying. You want to make sure you have enough wood to last the winter months, and that could mean a significant amount of wood needing to be stored. When stacking wood, the process starts with placing it just slightly off the ground. You can use some form of support such as a grate to provide space and a small gap between the ground and the wood. This space is for creating an ideal air flow.

 

How long does it take to dry firewood?

In general, it takes about six months to properly season and dry firewood; a season for a season. If you stack wood in early spring, it should be ready for use in the winter or by October.

 

How can you tell if the wood is dry?

There are several different methods you can use to check whether wood is dry and ok to use. You can check the moisture level of a piece of wood by splitting it open, or touching the ends, to see if it feels dry to the touch. Another good indication is checking the weight; dried wood is considerably lighter than green wood. You can also check this by banging two pieces of wood together. Green wood will be more dense whereas dried wood will produce a hollow sound. In some cases, dried firewood will even show cracks, revealing moisture has seeped from the interior.

If you’re still unsure, you can cut a small piece off the wood and throw it into the fire. Dry wood will burn quickly, compared with green wood which will crackle and smoke. Proper drying of wood takes time and patience, but the benefits are huge; it can save significantly on heating expenses.

 

Can you burn freshly cut wood?

Technically, yes; you can burn a piece of wood moments after you cut it, however you may face challenges in getting it to start or stay lit. Particularly, if the wood is green. If the wood is dead, it doesn’t need to sit and dry, you can burn it as soon as its cut.

 

 Further reading

 

Contact Burning Inspirations

If you have a new wood burning stove installed in your home, we hope this blog will be useful to you. For more information on wood burning stoves, please don’t hesitate to call us on 01908 507 027, or fill out our online contact form today and one of our team will be in touch. We cover a wide range of areas within the UK, including Milton Keynes, Northampton, Aylesbury, Banbury, Bedford, Bicester, Daventry, Oxford or Towcester.

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