If you’re exploring different firewood options for your fireplace, outdoor firepit, or stove, then you have probably heard the term “seasoned firewood.” The more you research, the more you will hear horror stories about seasoned firewood.
Almost anyone who has tried seasoned firewood can testify to its many downsides. But what exactly is “seasoned” firewood, and how is it different from the other types of firewood you might choose?
What Is Seasoned Firewood?
Put simply, saying that wood has been “seasoned” means that it has been left out to dry for a long period of time, so the moisture from the tree’s cells and its sap have evaporated from the wood.
Seasoned firewood is distinguished from green firewood and kiln dried firewood. Green firewood has been freshly cut, whereas kiln dried firewood has had the moisture removed quickly through a kiln.
In practical conversation, the word “seasoned” is used in many different ways. When people talk about seasoned firewood, they are often referring to firewood that you have seasoned themselves, or that they received from a non-professional, non-store supplier, like a friend down the road. This means that there is very little quality control, and wood that you think has been well seasoned may still be loaded with moisture.
If you’re looking to optimize your fireside experience this year, one of the most important pieces of advice to follow is to avoid seasoned firewood at all costs. A basic understanding of seasoned firewood and its most prominent characteristics can help you understand why. Read on for more information on the basics of seasoned firewood and why it is such a poor choice of firewood for your summer firepit.
The Difference between Partially Seasoned and Fully Seasoned Firewood
Before wood has been dried out, it is considered “green.” That means it still contains a considerable amount of moisture, which is stored in both its cells and its sap. In fact, freshly chopped wood contains about 50 percent water. Firewood is not considered fully seasoned until the moisture content is below 20 percent. This obviously requires a significant amount of drying, and it makes seasoning your own firewood a major challenge.
In order to properly season wood, you will need to cut the wood and stack it as soon as the tree has been taken down. It must be stacked in a dry location, and then left to dry for over a year. Then, if you’re lucky, the moisture content will be below 20 percent.
It is important to note that the term “green” doesn’t just refer to the color of the firewood. Your firewood will lose its green color as it dries out during the seasoning process–but that doesn’t mean the moisture content is sufficient for a successful burn in your firepit.
As we said earlier, usable firewood requires a year or more to season. That means the wood needs to be left out to dry for long after it initially starts to lose its green color. Without this visual cue, it can be difficult to tell whether your firewood is partially seasoned or fully seasoned. And if it’s only partially seasoned, you definitely won’t end up with the firepit experience you want.
The Downsides of Using Seasoned Firewood Instead of Kiln Dried Firewood
The risk that you will end up with partially seasoned firewood (instead of fully seasoned firewood) isn’t the only downside of choosing seasoned firewood over kiln dried firewood. Even if your firewood is fully seasoned, the quality still doesn’t compare. Consider some of the well-known features of seasoned firewood:
- It’s hard to light. No matter how long you’ve been seasoning your firewood for, the moisture level will almost always be higher than it is for kiln dried firewood, so it’s naturally more difficult to get it burning. Plus, when you season your own firewood, you have to cut it into chunks that facilitate the seasoning process, and you’re likely to end up with odd shapes that don’t take well to flame. That means you may end up spending almost as much time trying to get the fire started as you do enjoying your time around the fire with family and friends.
- The smoke smells bad. The smell of seasoned firewood simply doesn’t match up to the aroma of kiln dried hickory, for a variety of reasons. Most importantly, the higher water content can give seasoned firewood a musty smell, which gets even worse if the firewood was infested with mold at some point during the seasoning process–a scenario that is far from uncommon. As a result, you’ll probably end up spending your night around the firepit trying not to let the smell of the smoke bother you. Plus, unlike the aroma from kiln dried firewood, the musty smell will stick to your clothes (even after multiple washes), so you may end up ruining your favorite summer t-shirt!
- It produces more emissions. When you burn seasoned firewood, it releases more emissions than when you burn kiln dried firewood. Seasoned firewood burns at a lower temperature, which means that more toxic compounds are released into the atmosphere. Therefore, choosing seasoned firewood over kiln dried firewood will make your firepit less environmentally friendly.
Does Cutting Edge Firewood Sell Seasoned Firewood?
No. We believe in providing our customers with only the highest quality firewood products available. Cutting Edge Firewood provides the best firewood available. Period.
Now that you know about the nature of seasoned firewood and the things you’re likely to experience when you try to use it at summer get-togethers or during cold winter nights, you’re hopefully wanting to avoid it. However, if you’re not convinced, contact us today. We’re passionate about great fires and would be happy to answer your questions.
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Until then, you can count on Cutting Edge Firewood to provide the kiln dried firewood you need for your firepit or fireplace.