Most people think that all wood burns the same but that is just not the case. If you have ever tried to burn “green” wood you will find that it is actually hard to burn because it is full of moisture. That’s why it’s important to have dried wood for your fireplace or stove. Everyone wants to know what is good firewood. But what is not readily known is there is a difference in dried wood.
Air Dried Wood
Air dried wood is exactly that; wood that is air dried both outside and in. Of course, it makes more sense that the wood dried inside and protected will be a better burning wood than wood dried outside where it can get rained on from time to time. It really is about moisture content. The less moisture the hotter, cleaner and longer it burns. This natural drying method is good if done right but there is another type of firewood that is better; kiln dried wood.
Kiln Dried Wood
Wood that is dried in a kiln can have a moisture content of less than 18%, which is unheard of for air or natural drying. The air is controlled and able to circulate around the wood for maximum drying. As you can see, this takes special equipment and can be expensive. It takes energy to remove the moisture from wood, estimated at 1100 BTU per pound. So if a cord of green wood weighs in at 6000lbs there is about 2500lbs of water that will need to be removed to achieve the 20% or less for kiln dried firewood. The question for the consumer is; is the cost of the wood worth it?
Firewood Cost vs Quality
When you consider that firewood that has moisture in it uses most of its energy to dry the water that is remaining in the wood and this reduces the amount of heat. When you consider that one kiln dried piece of wood creates the same amount of heat that 3 wet logs produce then you can do the calculations to determine if the wood you are purchasing for your fireplace every year is actually costing you more than kiln-dries wood would cost.
If you are on a budget and have a fireplace you will at least need seasoned wood because at least a part of the water content has been removed. If you are using a stove, budget or not, kiln dried wood is the best to burn.
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