How to Dry Firewood

How to Dry FirewoodHaving well-seasoned, dry firewood during the winter will keep your hearth and home cozy and warm through the cold season. Dry wood, particularly hardwoods such as oak, will burn hotter and longer than green wood. Wood generally takes a minimum of six months to lose its moisture content, but wood that has been drying for a year or longer will have even better results. Drying wood properly requires proper cutting, stacking and steady exposure to sun and wind.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Step 1
Clear a spot for your wood pile as far from your house as you can. Woodpiles will attract rodents and insects, including termites, so keep the stack away from house siding to prevent infestation in your home. If stacking next to the house is necessary, do not lean the wood directly against the siding. Maintain the pile at least one foot away from the house.
Step 2
Find a place that will get direct exposure to the sun and stay well ventilated. Wood needs sun, air and wind to dry. Keeping a wood pile in a dark, closed garage won't do a good job of seasoning and could actually allow mold to grow if the wood is wet enough. Stacking your wood directly outdoors is best.
Step 3
Create your woodpile in the spring or early summer to take advantage of the warm weather. Stacking a pile in April or May will give your wood at least six months to dry before the winter if you absolutely need it within the current year.
Step 4
Split your wood before stacking it. Stacking whole logs is a poor method of drying because it will take a great deal longer to dry logs than pieces that have been split. Most wood is delivered already cut and ready for stacking, but if large rounds have been delivered, it's best to get these split before you stack.
Step 5
Keep your stacked wood above the ground. Use wooden pallets or other elevating material to keep the bottom of the pile dry and aerated. At the very least, lay down a tarp to keep moisture away from the bottom layer of your woodpile.
Step 6
Stack your wood neatly and no higher than four feet tall. This will prevent the wood from tumbling, which can be a potentially hazardous situation. Never allow anyone, especially children, to sit or walk on top of the woodpiles.
Step 7
Cover your wood during wet periods. Putting a tarp over the top of your pile will prevent rain from soaking the top layer, but don't cover the pile on all four sides. Keeping the air circulating even during wet weather is better than allowing moisture to condense under a plastic tarp. Remove the tarp during clear days.

Article Written By Nikki Jardin

Nikki Jardin began freelance writing in 2009 and focuses on food and travel articles. She has been a professional cook and caterer for more than 20 years. She holds a degree in environmental science from Humboldt State University.

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