Seasoning firewood correctly means the difference between a roaring fire and a disappointing smolder. Logs kept dry under proper outdoor firewood storage will naturally season over time as they are exposed to the elements. This allows excess moisture to evaporate, leaving behind fire logs that burn hotter, longer, and more efficiently.
Unseasoned or “green” wood is any wood still heavy with residual moister. This can be newly cut logs or even wood you find on the side of the road after your neighbor has taken down some trees. These logs are harder to light, produce more smoke, and don’t burn as hot. Even worse, they can cause creosote to build up in your chimney, leading to decreased airflow and creating a potential fire hazard.
How to Tell if your Firewood is Seasoned
Seasoned wood looks like what you buy at the store. If you are unsure, check the color. Seasoned logs are brown rather than green. They also tend to be coarse on the end and you may even see cracking. Seasoned wood is lighter in weight with easily peelable bark and makes a hollow sound when struck.
While seasoning wood can take anywhere from six months to two years depending on conditions, it’s worth it to have a safer and more pleasant fire-building experience. The process itself is easy.
How to Season Firewood
In order to season logs, keep them raised off the ground on a firewood stand and protect them with a cover. This will make sure they stay dry and prevent rot. Be sure to stack the wood so that one side is exposed to sun and wind, allowing moisture to evaporate. If your firewood gets rained on, simply let it dry as rotting only occurs with prolonged exposure. If stored correctly, seasoned wood will last for many years.
How Long to Season Firewood
How you store your wood is essential to ensure your firewood can season without being disturbed. The time it takes to season firewood can vary depending on the type of wood you're using.
- Ash burns most efficiently when split, stacked, and left for at least 6 months to season.
- Maple can take from 6 months to a year to season properly, depending if you have soft or hard maple
- Oak can take anywhere from 12 -24 months to season as it can contain high levels of water