I wonder, which wood cares best for my stove? Is paying a little bit more for kiln dried wood honestly worth it? Will it really make a difference to the quality of heat I get and the amount of mess to clean-up after?
Have you ever hummed and hawed over this before? Or maybe these questions have never crossed your mind and you’ve just opted for whatever is easiest to get or kinder on the old purse strings. Well, we will help guide you through the various options and look and which is best.
What is the difference between unseasoned, seasoned and kiln dried wood?
So, what is the difference between unseasoned wood, seasoned wood and kiln dried wood? Unseasoned wood, also known as green wood, has not been at all treated in preparation for becoming firewood. It is taken from its natural environment and put on a fire within a short time frame. As a result, it has a high moisture content of around 60% and above. Seasoned wood has been stored for a varying length of time from around 6-24 months, to dry out and has a moisture content of around 30-50%. Lastly, kiln dried wood has been put in a kiln for a specified length of time, bringing them down to a moisture content of no more than 20%.
We believe that kiln dried firewood is the best option all round and here’s the main reasons why.
You can click here to visit our Firewood page.
The problem with seasoned wood, is that the method of drying it out is inconsistent. If you season the wood yourself and leave it in a garage for several months, the process can be disrupted by several environmental variables. For example, logs at the bottom or the middle of the pile are hidden and compressed, so a decent air flow may not reach them. Alternatively, the moisture can become trapped, causing those logs to be damper than others. Then again, logs on the top are more likely to be exposed to water and other elements.
It can also be hard to gauge how long you should season your wood for, as one person’s storage facilities may provide a better environment than another and with damp and unpredictable weather, you may have spells of the year where your store facilities are colder or wetter than others.
Another big problem, is that some seasoning companies rush their process in order to meet order demands. So, you may indeed legally be buying seasoned wood, but the moisture content could be higher on the scale than you realise and this may vary from batch to batch and even log to log. This can mean, you are putting varied wood on your fire, leading to a range of problems related to burning, stove care and environmental factors.
When it comes to kiln dried wood, on the other hand, every batch and every log is dried to a consistent and specified level, meaning each log has the same moisture content.
As we’ve seen already, the burning process of wood is disrupted if the moisture content is too high. Kiln dried wood provides a reliable performance, meaning that every log you buy, whether it be in November, or May, should have a moisture content of 20% or below. Being kiln dried means that your wood can be used straight away and every log will light easily, burn cleanly and provide the maximum output of heat.
CARING FOR YOU APPLIANCE
Kiln dried logs help to prolong the life of your appliance. How? Because the higher temperatures given off by the wood, help burn off the remaining water and sap in the material. This prevents these from building up as tar, which over time, can foul and rust your appliance, leading to a loss in efficiency and a nightmare of unwanted, messy cleaning.
Unseasoned and seasoned wood create smoke, which can be released into your room, out your chimney or flue, or become blocked. This then leads to dangerous gases entering the environment and potentially causing you harm. That is why in many built-up locations, fireplaces, wood burning stoves and fuel all need to be DEFRA approved, allowing the output of your fire to meet environmental standards.
With kiln dried wood, because the wood burns cleanly, if you have a stove, then the burn heading up the chimney or flue will not be getting chocked with excess soot or tarring. Also, the higher temperatures generated by kiln dried wood means that absolutely everything is burnt. Even the gasses released. Alternatively, in a cooler fire, these would simply escape up the chimney and cause damage to your appliance, chimney structure and increase unwanted air pollution.
SUITABILITY FOR YOUR STOVE
Kiln dried wood is suitable for most open fires, stoves and pizza ovens, due to its consistent high quality and minimal smoke output. Seasoned wood, however, is not, as it may damage the quality of your burning process, or not suit the requirements of your stove. And if you cooking food in a pizza oven, you don’t want everything to taste burnt!
In connection to what we were talking about earlier, storing seasoned wood for a suitable length of time before use can be very demanding on space. However, kiln dried wood can be used immediately and needs minimal space to store. A further benefit of it being ready to use immediately, is that stored seasoned wood, can attract bugs and bacteria, which you then bring into your home.
Lots of people are put off by kiln dried wood because it is more expensive than seasoned wood. But, kiln dried wood is actually more cost effective. Why? Because you use less of it, as it burns hotter, longer and more consistently.
These are the main reasons why kiln dried wood is far superior to seasoned or unseasoned wood. But don’t just take our word for it, order some and be amazed by the difference yourself!
You can click here to visit our Firewood page.