How To Be Sure Your Fire Wood is Seasoned

30 Jul 2013
It is important to be sure that you are using properly seasoned wood in your fireplace. If your wood is not seasoned properly you will be faced with a very smoky and unpleasant burn in your fireplace that could easily pour into your home. Unseasoned, or moist wood will also cause your woodstove or fireplace to heat your home at an insufficient rate. The cause of this is simple. Wood that is not properly seasoned contains too much moisture and moisture does not burn. What moisture does do in a fire is cause unpleasant smoke as it heats to its boiling point.
Seasoning wood does not simply mean letting it sit for six months to a year before burning it. In that time period, the wood must also be protected from the elements and given the ability to dry out. You can keep it in a garage, a shed or covered with a tarp. Getting it up off the ground on patio blocks or pallets will help a great deal as well.
There are key signs to look for when determining if you wood is ready to be burned. If you follow these guidelines you will have nothing to worry about. You wood should burn nice and clean and heat your house well.
  • Seasoned wood will have a darker color than fresh wood and will have a greyish look.
  • If you knock two properly seasoned logs together they will make a hollow sound.
  • The ends of the logs will have cracks.
  • Bark will loosen and begin to fall off.
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Thanks for the tips. I'm always nevrous that the wood won't be ready. When I'm burning outside it isn't so scary, but inside I worry about it getting too smoky. My kids have bad allergies and I never want to do anything to worsen them. I'll feel much more confident this winter when following this check list. 

Hi Colin, 

You make a great point about the allergies. Wood that isn't properly seasoned could definitly contribute to irritating allergies.