HOW TO CHECK YOUR FIREWOOD IS DRY
Due to the current heat wave pretty much everything is dry - the grass is yellow, and the ...

HOW TO CHECK YOUR FIREWOOD IS DRY

Due to the current heat wave pretty much everything is dry – the grass is yellow, and the plants and tress and starting to struggle. A lack of water is not good for the green lush British countryside, but is perfect for firewood! 

It’s probably not the first thing you think of this time of the year, but when it comes to firewood, how do you know your firewood is dry, correctly seasoned and ready for your wood burning stove?

Burning correctly seasoned firewood is essential for an efficient and clean burn in your stove, correctly seasoned wood also is essential to avoid flue congestion and the associated risks, such as a chimney fire or Carbon Monoxide poisoning.

Firewood is generally considered dry when it’s moisture content is less than 20%. 

Below are a number of ways to test your firewood to see if it’s dry. Some methods are more accurate than others.

We have rated them on a score out of 5 to assess their accuracy and ease of use. 

The Soap Test – Blow On The Firewood 

You can use washing up liquid to see if your firewood is dry. You need to add a small amount of liquid on one end of the log (ideally a small log in your supply), you need to then put your mouth against the other end and blow through the log, we recommend cleaning away any debris before you do this!

If you see bubbles, the firewood is dry!

The reason for this is because there will be some channels inside the wood, which transport water. When the log has been cut and is dried, the water goes, and so the air can pass through when you blow. It’s a very simple test to help you decide. 

Accuracy: ***
Ease of Use: **

 



The Sound Test

Banging two pieces of wood together is a simple and ingenious way to test if your firewood is dry. If it’s dry the wood being banged together will make a hard and ringing noise. Wet wood will make a more of a dull sound. 

This test is only a very approximate test if you have no other means, or to use in conjunction with another method. For example in sub zero temperatures wet wood can make a hard, ringing noise, when in fact it is far from dry.

Accuracy: **
Ease of Use: *****

 



Look At The Firewood

Sometimes taking a look at the firewood can be a good indication as to whether it’s dry and ready for burning. Your firewood should be:

* Dry to the touch
* Clean
* Hard
* Free from mould 
* Showing dry cracks on the ends
* Showing signs of grow rings/circles
* Light or lighter in colour, the sun exposure will make the wood yellow in colour, while old wood tends to turn greyish.

If your fire does not meet the criteria above, your firewood is probably not dry enough. This is only a very general check and does vary based on your type of wood you are intending to burn. 

Accuracy: *
Ease of Use: *****

 


 

Using a Moisture Meter

By far the most accurate way to check if your firewood is ready to be burned is to use a moisture meter. You can get a moisture meter from many online retailers, and also at most fire showrooms, which supply Charlton & Jenrick fires.

They accurately measure wood moisture with prongs (see left), which are placed into the log – and it takes an accurate measurement for you. 

We would always recommend using a moisture meter for the best accuracy. However, if you ever find yourself needing to check firewood and you don’t have a moisture meter to hand, at least you have a few other options to consider.

Accuracy: *****
Ease of Use: *****

 

 

 

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