Are you worried that your firewood might be too dry? This is not a very common problem, especially when compared to people worrying about whether their firewood is seasoned enough or not. But this can be a genuine issue as well, let’s take a look at whether firewood can become too dry or not.
Overdried firewood is achieved in rare cases when the moisture content of wood drops below 10% either through kiln drying or in exceptionally hot and dry climates. You can use the logs with low moisture content for burning, however, the fire will be more difficult to control and maintain. That is because dry wood burns more aggressively and faster as opposed to firewood with higher moisture content.
Can Seasoned Firewood Become Too Dry?
Properly seasoned firewood is achieved through prolonged drying of the firewood. The seasoning time varies depending on the moisture content and density of the wood and the size of the logs.
Under normal conditions, it is not possible for the firewood to become too dry. But if you have dried firewood in a kiln or if kept for too long in hot and dry conditions, you can get over seasoned firewood.
Properly seasoned firewood has a moisture content of between 15-20%. If the moisture level falls a little below this, it shouldn’t be a problem but if it falls below the 10% level, then it can impact the quality of the firewood itself.
The moisture level of wood can be measured using a moisture meter.
What Are the Problems with Over Seasoned Firewood?
Using overdried firewood is less of a problem when compared to burning unseasoned firewood.
- First, the fire produced by overdried firewood does not last very long. The fuel within the log is very dry thus it will burn fast and aggressively. That creates the possibility of damaging your wood stove or fireplace.
- The efficiency of firewood will be lower as a lot of the heat produced will go into the chimney or flue because of the more aggressive burning process.
There is also a big misconception that firewood that is too dry will create more smoke. This is not true. In reality, the less moisture firewood has, the less energy is required to evaporate the moisture. If the moisture content of wood is low, the full combustion process can happen faster.
This will make the wood burn hotter, and in turn, evaporate a lot of combustion particles in the process due to high heat.
How Can You Deal with Overdried Firewood?
If you have over-dried firewood, then one thing which you can do is mix it with some properly seasoned firewood. This will balance out the moisture content of the firewood as a whole.
You shouldn’t mix in unseasoned firewood with over-dried pieces. It is much better to use over seasoned firewood than unseasoned ones. As long as the firewood moisture content is more than 20%, you should not use it.
Another option is to leave the overdried wood outside during autumn or spring when the moisture content of the air is higher than normal. Wood will absorb some of the moisture from the air, normalizing the moisture levels.
Can You Re-Hydrate Overdried Firewood?
Pouring water on seasoned firewood is an uncontrolled process, which means that you don’t know what the moisture content of the firewood will be at the end.
It is very easy to go overboard and end up completely ruining the firewood. The second reason is that the water is not absorbed evenly, and it only penetrates to a certain thickness.
In most cases, pouring water on already seasoned firewood will only end up ruining the firewood. Re-hydrating firewood is a very precise process and is not recommended to be practiced at home.
What is a Moisture Meter?
The most precise method of measuring the moisture content of your firewood is by using a moisture meter. In most cases, your nearest hardware store will have a moisture meter.
A moisture meter is an electronic device, usually powered by batteries. It is used for measuring the moisture content of certain materials, usually firewood. Most commercial moisture meters are accurate up to +/-2%.
How To Use a Moisture Meter For Measuring Moisture Content of Firewood?
There are two popular types of moisture meters in the market, with probe pins and without. Make sure to read the user manual for the particular model you are working with.
Switch on the device and change the settings to measure firewood moisture levels. This is usually indicated by a tree symbol.
If you are using a pinless meter, touch one end of the meter, the one which has the sensors to the firewood surface, and wait for the results. On the other hand, if you are using a probe sensor, insert the probes into the surface of the firewood (refer to the user manual to know how deep the probes should be).
Can Moisture Meters be Wrong?
If you don’t correctly use the moisture meter, then the final reading can be wrong. Although, if you use the device correctly and unless there is something wrong with the machine, you should get readings accurate up to +/- 2%.
Why You Should Use Perfectly Seasoned Firewood?
Perfectly seasoned firewood is considered to be wood with moisture levels between 15-20%. Seasoned firewood is much easier to light a fire with and produces the most amount of heat while also lasting for a longer time.
Seasoned firewood also produces clean fire with minimal smoke.
Can You Use Frozen Firewood for Building a Fire?
Using frozen firewood for building a fire is a very bad idea. Not only is frozen firewood too cold which will use more energy to make it burn, but it is also filled with moisture which will first melt and evaporate before the wood catches fire.
This will end up using a lot more energy, so even if the firewood catches fire, it will not produce much heat for the initial stages of fire.
However, naturally, the wood will freeze during the winter months if it is stored outside. To minimize the effect of low temperatures on the wood, it is recommended to bring the amount of wood you are going to burn indoors the day earlier.
It is very rare for seasoned firewood to get overdried, which entails moisture levels below 10%. Although you can use over-dried firewood, it is not a good practice. You can mix over-dried firewood with seasoned logs to balance out the moisture content and make the fire more stable.
I am the guy behind Theyardable.com. I grew up on a homestead and I am here to share the knowledge I have and things I learn while living in the countryside.