Much like the human body, trees and plants contain a great deal of water. When a tree is cut down and chopped up for firewood, it dies. However, the moisture will remain in the wood for some time. In this fresh state, the firewood is called green.
Green wood doesn’t burn very well. Most of the time, it won’t burn at all, but if it does, it will make too much smoke and possibly even release combustion byproducts that can be damaging to your chimney. Therefore, before firewood is used, it must go through a drying process known as seasoning. There is more than one way to season firewood, but in recent times, experts have begun to recommend kiln dried logs.
Producing Firewood: Old-fashioned Seasoning
The old-fashioned way of seasoning firewood is simple. The wood is cut, split apart and stacked up in a sheltered area where it will get plenty of air. After sitting for a long period of time, the moisture content will begin to go down, and when it reaches a level of approximately 30 to 40 percent, the wood will be ready to burn. How long this process will take is dependent on a number of factors, such as the humidity in the air and the amount of protection the stack of wood has from the elements. In general, it can take anywhere from several months to multiple years, which means that to maintain an adequate supply of firewood, you’ll need to either split and season wood well in advance or purchase wood that has already been seasoned.
Kiln Dried Firewood: A Better Option
While the traditional seasoning process does work, it presents a number of problems.
- It takes a great deal of space to store and properly protect the seasoning wood over years.
- Some wood suppliers rush the seasoning process to ensure they’ll have enough to meet demand, which results in wood that hasn’t dried properly.
- The climate in Great Britain is very wet, making it difficult to achieve a low moisture content.
Kiln drying is a technique that presents a solution to all of these issues. It involves taking the green wood and speeding up the drying process by placing it inside a kiln. The kiln may be powered by electricity, natural gas or even solar energy. When the wood is baked in this way, all of the moisture quickly evaporates off. Not only does this reduce the amount of time that it takes to dry the wood, but it also eliminates the problem of storage space and ensures that the wood is seasoned evenly. When wood is stacked, some areas are exposed to more air than others, and you can end up with parts that are fully seasoned and parts that still contain some moisture, which will cause issues when burning.
Kiln dried firewood offers exciting possibilities for those who sell or burn firewood regularly. It’s efficient, easy to use and great for those who are new to using a fireplace. Using a kiln to dry firewood can take the moisture content down to 15 or 20 percent, much lower than a seasoned wood and much more efficient to burn. If you have any questions about our kiln dried wood, please contact Firewood Centre today!