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Learning how to dry firewood fast can mean the difference between burning good, seasoned firewood and burning wood that creates smoke, is hard to light, and leaves behind unwanted creosote.
In a perfect world we would all have a rotation of firewood that is allowed to sit for one full year and dry out before we burn it the following year.
Although this sounds great, sometimes we run out of time and life just happens, preventing us from cutting enough firewood to last for multiple years.
Over decades of burning firewood, I've found a few secrets that can actually help speed up the time firewood takes to dry out.
Plus, these tips are really easy to do, and anyone can do it.
Are you ready to finally stop burning firewood that's only partially seasoned?
Great, here's how!
Burning wet firewood can create a lot of problems in your fireplace, wood stove and even your outdoor camp fire.
Wet firewood contains too much moisture to effectively burn.
Have you ever thrown a log on a campfire and heard (or even watched) moisture sizzle or bubble out of the ends of the wood?
That's the sign of trapped moisture inside the wood that needs to evaporate, or boil off before the wood will burn.
As the fire uses its energy to evaporate the water, the unburned particles fill the air in the form of smoke and other gases.
Outside at the campfire, this smoke is annoying for those trying to enjoy a great evening, or if you have asthma or other breathing difficulties it could even be dangerous.
Inside of a fireplace, these unburned gasses stick to the inside of the chimney creating creosote.
Creosote is very flammable, and if you fail to regularly clean your chimney, you risk a dangerous chimney fire.
Finally, burning wet firewood is just annoying!
You'll be constantly moving the logs or blowing on the fire to keep it lit.
Learning how to dry firewood fast actually involves a little bit of science.
Trees have multiple small tubes that run throughout the inside of the tree carrying fluids from the roots to the leaves.
Think of it like a bunch of tiny straws that allow the moisture to flow throughout the tree.
By cutting the wood in smaller pieces, maybe 12 inches in length compared to 18 inches in length, you reduce the length required for the moisture to evaporate out of the ends of the wood.
Although this is an easy solution when considering how to dry firewood fast, you'll also have to consider the extra work it will take cutting, splitting and stacking extra pieces of shorter firewood.
Plus, depending on the size of your firebox you might have empty space left inside, making an overnight fire more difficult.
Regardless, if you're looking for a way to quickly dry out some firewood, cutting it smaller is an easy solution.
Similar to the hack listed above, splitting the wood into smaller pieces will help it dry faster.
When you split the wood into smaller chunks, it increases the surface area for the moisture to evaporate.
Unless it's a small branch that's only 3-4 inches in diameter, you should spit the piece of wood to help it dry out faster.
I've cut large rounds of wood and let them sit for 2 years without splitting them only to find they're still extremely wet in the middle when I do finally take the time to split them.
Some species, like white birch have a waterproof bark that really holds in the moisture.
In order for a piece of wood to effectively dry, you'll need to split it up.
Just remember, although splitting the wood into smaller pieces will allow it to dry out faster, it will also cause it to burn hotter.
This can often cause your wood stove to burn out overnight, not leaving enough coals to easily restart the fire.
For a fire pit, smaller wood works great because it keeps a nice large flame that everyone will enjoy.
The summer sun and wind plays a huge role when learning how to dry firewood fast.
If you cut firewood in the early spring and immediately split and stack it in a sunny location, the wood should be dry enough to burn in the winter.
Some types of firewood like red oak are notorious for taking 1-2 years to dry out, but other woods like ash, elm, Douglas fir and cherry will dry out pretty quick.
The sun is your best friend when it comes to seasoning firewood.
Utilize this free source of heat by stacking your firewood in a sunny location that is not sheltered from the wind.
Also, if you stack your firewood in multiple rows, make sure to leave a gap between each row.
This gap will allow the sun and wind to flow on all sides of the rows, making sure the firewood in the middle is also dry.
Using a firewood cover, like a roof on a firewood shed or even a simple blue tarp draped over the top can help repel rain and snow from the wood, keeping it dry.
Just remember that the wet wood needs to breath, so you don't want to fully enclose the stack of firewood.
If you're going to build a firewood shed, make sure it has slatted sides that let the wind in, and the moisture out.
If you're using a tarp, just cover the top of the firewood stack and not the whole thing.
This will reduce the possibility of creating firewood mold, which thrives in a warm, damp environment.
Storing and drying firewood inside is never a good idea.
In fact, the best place to store firewood is outside and away from your home.
All pests, like mice, spiders and carpenter ants love firewood.
Keeping your wood pile at least 30 yards from your barn, garage or home dramatically reduces the possibly of one of these pests entering your house.
Also, wet firewood store inside a garage won't receive the sun and wind required to help it dry out.
This results in mold growth on your firewood, or even worse, wet firewood that will quickly clog your chimney with creosote.
No matter what "hack" you use above, firewood needs time to dry out.
Besides using a firewood kiln to dry out your firewood in a matter of days, it takes time to naturally dry out firewood.
Can you use a fan to dry out firewood even faster?
Unless you live in a really dry environment, using a fan to dry firewood really doesn't help.
It's possible if you had your firewood in the basement, ran a dehumidifier constantly, and ran a fan to circulate air across the wood, you could dry the wood.
However, the amount of energy you would use to dry out the wood while running the dehumidifier and fan would exceed the money you're trying to save by burning firewood.
If you're running behind and can't cut your firewood until fall, no matter what you do, that wood will still be wet and not ready to be burned until the following year.
The only exception to this would be a dead standing tree, like ash, that could contain a very small amount of moisture inside the tree.
Although firewood just takes time to dry out, there are a few tricks you can use to dry the wood out faster.
Follow the tips listed above explaining how to dry firewood fast and you'll have dry, seasoned firewood that creates a hot, maintenance free fire.