Let’s be realistic, most people don’t think about ordering firewood until fall. A nip in the air is what gets people thinking about a nice cozy fire. Normally, conditions are wet in the fall so chances are, your firewood will have absorbed some moisture.
What you may not know is that some moisture is a good thing. As the water content of the log burns, it actually raises the amount of heat put out by the log. Wood that has been seasoned more than 2 years will actually put out much less heat than a log that was seasoned for only one year. On the other hand, wood with too much moisture will be impossible to light and cause a huge headache. 15-20% moisture is best for indoor burning.
It’s important to understand the difference between Seasoned wood and Green wood. Green wood is unseasoned. It comes from a fresh living tree that still has sap and moisture in its living cells. Seasoned wood is wood that has dried long enough to allow the living moisture to dry out. Seasoned wood acts as a sponge that absorbs moisture from the elements around it, but is able to dry within days if it has warmth and good air circulation unlike Green wood.
Below are the best ways to store firewood:
GARAGE – Not only will your wood stay dry, but it won’t be covered in snow during winter. The only issue is that there isn’t much airflow in a garage so you’ll want to avoid stacking your wood in the garage if it’s too wet. It will take longer for your wood to dry under those conditions. If possible, allow your wood to dry outside before bringing it in. Otherwise, aim a fan at the wet wood to allow proper air circulation.
OUTSIDE UNDER A ROOF – This is the best way to keep your wood dry, especially if you have it raised a few inches off the ground. The roof will keep your wood from getting wet, while allowing air flow. If snow builds up around your wood stack, not much moisture will be absorbed due to the low temperatures, however, moisture will be absorbed when it melts.
INDOORS – The dry air inside your house will suck moisture out of your wood. Clearly most people don’t have the space or desire to keep an entire face cord stored inside their home. If your wood is not stored in a dry place with good air flow then be sure to bring in enough wood for your next fire a couple of days before you plan to burn. This will allow the wood to dry which will avoid the frustration of a fire that doesn’t want to start.
- Storing under a tarp with sides covered. There will be no air flow and your wood will retain the moisture in the air. This will result in moldy wood that is hard to start.
- Stacking when wet. If your delivery arrives when conditions have been wet outside, your wood needs a chance to dry. Seasoned wood will dry out within a few days if it is in a spot with good airflow. Stacking wet wood in the garage will take longer for it to dry as there is no air flow. You can dry your wood more quickly by using a fan.
- Stacking against the house. This restricts air flow and can cause mold and mildew.