How long should firewood be seasoned for?
Estate Care LLC
If you’re a homeowner in Maryland, specifically in Carroll County or Baltimore County, you’re probably no stranger to the warmth and comfort a wood-burning stove or fireplace can bring to your home during the colder months. However, to ensure that your firewood burns efficiently and cleanly, it’s crucial to know how long you should season your firewood. In this blog post, we’ll explore the steps to properly season firewood and offer tips for ensuring you have a steady supply of dry, seasoned wood for your winter fires.
How Long Should Firewood be Seasoned For?
Seasoning firewood is the process of drying it out to reduce its moisture content, making it burn more efficiently and produce less smoke. The length of time you should season your firewood depends on several factors, including the type of wood you’re using. Generally, it’s advisable to wait at least 6 months and up to 12 months for dry firewood. Here’s a breakdown of the steps to achieve well-seasoned firewood:
1. Choose the Right Wood
The type of wood you select plays a crucial role in how long it needs to be seasoned. Hardwoods like oak and maple take longer to dry compared to softwoods like pine and spruce. For the best results, wait at least 12 months before burning hardwoods, while softwoods may be ready in 6-9 months. To test if your wood is dry, try banging two pieces together – dry wood will sound hollow, while wet wood will sound dull.
2. Cut Wood to the Right Length
Ensure your firewood is cut to the appropriate length. It should fit easily into your woodstove or fireplace. A good rule of thumb is to make sure it’s about three inches shorter than the width or length of your firebox.
3. Split Firewood Before Stacking
Before stacking, split your wood into pieces no more than six inches in diameter. Splitting the wood increases its exposure to air, which accelerates the drying process.
4. Stack Wood in Alternate Directions
When stacking your firewood, arrange it in alternating directions. This enhances air circulation between the logs and further reduces moisture.
5. Store Firewood Off the Ground:
o protect your woodpile from moisture, elevate it at least six inches off the ground. You can use pallets or build a dedicated woodshed for this purpose.
6. Cover the Top, Leave the Sides Exposed:
While it’s essential to cover the top of your woodpile, it’s equally important to leave the sides exposed to encourage airflow. Ideally, you should have a structure with a roof for protection. However, if that’s not feasible, a tarp can also do the job. During warm summer months, consider removing the tarp temporarily to speed up the drying process.