The summer season offers warm weather, outdoor fun, and plenty of backyard barbecues and chances to put your fire pit to use all season long. But what about your firewood supply for winter? You may not be thinking about preparing for the snowy season just yet, but fresh firewood should be taken care of sooner rather than later. Determine when you should be seasoning firewood in order to guarantee plenty of safe and efficient fires year-round.
Why Do You Need to Season Firewood?
Freshly cut or “green” firewood retains up to 45% or more of its moisture content. Too much moisture prevents firewood from burning properly, making it difficult to light, sustain, or effectively produce warmth. Further, burning wet firewood also increases smoke and creosote buildup that may threaten your home and health. Too much smoke and creosote greatly increase the risk of a home fire, while overexposure potentially contributes to respiratory damage, eye injury, and more.
In order to enjoy safe and quality fires at home, firewood needs to be sufficiently dry. Seasoning firewood simply means airing out your pile in order to dry wood and bring the moisture content down to 20% or less. With less moisture, energy is spent actually burning the wood as opposed to drying it first, allowing for more successful, safe, and efficient fires.
When Should You Season Firewood?
When it comes to seasoning firewood, the sooner the better. On average, it takes about 6 months to a year for freshly cut wood to effectively dry. However, seasoning time is largely dependent on location, wood species, original moisture content, length of logs, and other variables. But more likely than not, if you haven’t already, now’s the time to start!
In order to be ready for winter, begin the seasoning process in the spring or early summer. This provides a sufficient overall drying time. And, the refreshing spring breeze and the hot summer sun will further help firewood effectively dry. And, if you utilize a few techniques and tools, burnable firewood is guaranteed just in time for the frigid season.
Tips for Seasoning Firewood
To improve seasoning efficiency, use these techniques and tools to ensure thoroughly dried firewood.
Pick a good spot.
For fast seasoning, expose your open pile to as much sunlight, heat, and airflow as possible. Place pile in an open space and avoid leaning it against your home as this not only blocks sunlight and airflow, but allows insects and unwanted pests easier access into your home.
Stack your pile strategically.
In order to ensure optimal airflow throughout your entire pile, strategize your stacking technique. Split wood in advance, alternate directions between rows, and keep your pile off the ground. A properly stacked and protected pile helps firewood season and dry effectively. And, efficiently stacking your pile further prevents mold, wood decay, and insect or mice infestation.
Utilize Firewood Storage Solutions and Seasoning Sheds.
To effectively avoid mold or pests and maximize seasoning time, consider using one of these firewood storage solutions:
- Firewood storage racks keep your supply off the ground, away from your home, and effectively protected from excess moisture. Options such as the ShelterLogic 12 ft. Ultra Duty Firewood Rack boast a 6600 lb load, protecting up to a ¾ cord of wood for a durable large-scale firewood storage solution. With a high-quality adjustable polyester fabric cover, firewood gets just enough coverage to seal out rain without cutting off air circulation. Or, utilize options such as the Arrow Firewood Rack for convenient and compact firewood storage. These all-steel solutions resist corrosion, offer easy DIY assembly, and come in multiple color options to complement any building exterior.
- Firewood seasoning sheds cut seasoning time in half to provide ready-to-use firewood faster and more efficiently than ever before. These innovative and portable solutions feature a strong heavy duty steel frame for reliable strength and durability. The polyethylene fabric cover effectively retains heat, keep moisture out, and allows just enough light and cross ventilation to aid in the drying process. Season firewood up to 2x faster compared to open air drying with affordable options that can accommodate 7 cords of wood!