It is important to note that wood from a recently fallen tree contains 50% moisture. The moisture content of wood directly refers to the amount of water weight that is held by the wood itself.
Therefore, when calculating how long it will take for a piece of wood to dry, you’ll need to take into account the water contents of the wood and the environmental conditions that the tree was in.
Wood is known as hygroscopic which means that it absorbs or releases moisture that is dependent on humidity in the surrounding atmosphere.
Whenever the air becomes humid, the wood will absorb moisture through its pores which causes its internal water content to increase. Whenever the air becomes dry, the opposite process occurs.
Therefore, if you are burning wood during a dry summer, it will be far easier to ignite. Conversely, if the wood has been exposed to extreme humidity of 99%, its moisture content will be too high for it to burn effectively.
Why Is It Crucial To Burn Dry Wood?
There are many reasons why you should only attempt to burn dry wood. Irrespective of whether you are outside or indoors, using dry wood ensures that it remains consistently alight.
Dry firewood is inherently easier to set alight and will therefore burn hotter. Starting out with dry cuts of wood is the best way to ignite your fire efficiently. Dry firewood also releases less smoke and wetter wood is far more likely to produce a vast amount of smoke.
It is also a lot safer to use for chimneys as moisture can cause hazardous creosote to develop in the chimney. Dry firewood also smells far better when burnt, burning wet wood leads to a musty smell.
Cooking with dry wood is far more effective and any wood-flavoring will certainly be added to your food. Conversely, if you use wet wood to cook, you could end up adding an unwanted taste to your food, and it will not cook as consistently.
How Long Does It Take For Wood To Dry?
So how long does it take for wet wood to dry?
The answer is that there are many reasons why wood can take a long time to dry but if you choose the best method of drying your wood, then you will undoubtedly reap the rewards. The least expensive way to dry it out is to air-dry it but the quickest way to dry it is to place it in a kiln.
Whenever you decide to air-dry your wood, you should ensure that it is chopped efficiently as this will help it to dry quicker. The smaller the piece of wood, the faster it will dry. Most types of wood will take approximately a year per inch in order to dry.
Another reason that will affect how quickly your wood air dries is whether it has been stored in a humid area or not. It is imperative that you stack your firewood off of the floor to allow air to flow between the different pieces and allow any excess moisture to properly escape.
You should bear in mind that different kinds of wood will dry quicker than others.
If you choose to air dry your wood yourself then you will be able to control these factors. However, if you are purchasing firewood, you should try to ascertain whether it has been seasoned and dried correctly.
Whilst some vendors will provide wood with an ignitable moisture content of 20%, some will also try to sell you wood that has a far greater moisture content. This is why people usually prefer placing their logs through the kiln drying process.
Any moisture left in seasoned wood will start to develop mold and attract insects that break down the wood itself and this is a further reason why people prefer to kiln dry firewood.
During the kiln drying process, the wood is placed into a vacuum chamber that is negatively pressurized. Then, it is exposed to blasts of hot air and the combination of the negative pressure of the chamber and the heat helps to ensure that any moisture quickly evaporates from the wood.
Once the moisture particles have heated up and eventually evaporate, the wood’s moisture content will be far lower. As such, the kiln-drying method is renowned for being the most effective moisture-removal method when it comes to drying wood.
In fact, kiln-dried wood typically has a moisture content of approximately 5-15%!
It is important to note that not all kiln-drying methods are the same. In fact, many firewood vendors that use kiln-dried firewood will have heated their wood in a 160-degree kiln only to kill bugs as opposed to ensuring that the moisture content is at 20%.
If you want to be sure that you are purchasing wood with a lower moisture content then you should consider purchasing reputable firewood from a well-respected vendor.
This wood goes through the most extensive drying process, ensuring that no firewood is infested with bugs or fungus as well as having a considerably low moisture content.
To conclude, wood takes a considerably long time to dry if it has been stormed within a humid environment. However, there are many ways to dry your wood and the most effective method of doing so is via the kiln-drying process.
You can also air-dry your wood but make sure that you are storing it within a dry environment and leaving enough space for air to ventilate between the wood itself.
You should consult with a reputable vendor to ensure that you are purchasing the most efficient type of firewood for cooking and heating purposes.