10 tips to drying firewood in just 6 weeks
Get the basics right, and you can have perfect firewood in as little as six weeks.
Words: Nadene Hall
Perfect firewood has a moisture content of below 20 percent. Above that, wood in your firebox puts its energy into drying, not producing heat.
It also creates lots of smoke and a sticky creosote layer inside your flue. Research has found if you do it right, firewood can be dry in just 6-12 weeks.
1. Cut wood to a length that fits easily into your woodburner or fireplace – the firewood in the research was at most 60cm long.
2. Split the wood at least once – wood dries along the grain up to 15 times faster than across the grain.
3. Ideally, store drying firewood in a shed; only put it in the sun if it’s not going to rain.
4. Wood sitting on concrete, tarseal, or another solid surface dries significantly faster than wood on bare or vegetation-covered ground.
5. Stack wood so there’s space for air to flow between the pieces. Orientation is important: shorter, narrower stacks dry faster.
6. Stack wood away from buildings and trees, which block wind and breezes, decreasing the drying rate.
7. Only cover the top of an outdoor stack when it’s drying. Test wood with a top cover took half as long to dry in a sunny, airy place as a completely covered stack.
8. Allow sun and air to reach the sides of the woodpile to help dry the wood.
9. Season for at least six weeks during summer. Cover in autumn or newly dry firewood will soak up moisture again.
10. By autumn, it’s too late to quickly season wood due to humidity and moisture levels; even in a dry shed, it’s unlikely to get below 30 percent moisture content.