If you didn’t plan ahead and cut your wood earlier in the year, the chances are if you want seasoned firewood, you’ll have to buy it. That’ll be OK for this year, but let’s talk about how to get you ready for next year.
The first thing you need to know is that burning wood that has not dried (seasoned) can be an unpleasant and dangerous thing to do. It will create a lot of smoke, as well as build up creosote in your chimney.
How to tell if wood is seasoned
There is one foolproof way to know if your wood is dry: Use a moisture meter on it. You can get these at most hardware or home improvement stores.
Other than that, there are several signs you can look for so you’ll know how to tell if wood is seasoned.
Faded – The less color the wood has, the more seasoned it is.
Split – When you split wood, you can speed up the process of drying it. (If you need wood to burn now, buy wood that has already been split to increase your chances of success.)
Less weight – When firewood dries, moisture is removed from it. That means less weight.
Hard – When wood dries, it gets harder. This makes it more difficult to split (or even dent, in the case of some hardwoods).
Loose bark – Bark on dry firewood is loose.
Cracked – Dried wood also will crack. You will be able to see the cracks moving from the center to the edge. (This isn’t always 100% accurate.)
Sound – Dry wood sounds hollow when you strike it against another piece of wood. Wet wood does not.
Smell – Green wood will smell more sappy or grass-like. Dried wood smells lighter and less pungent.
It’s dry – Split a piece of the wood. If it is dry on the inside, you guessed it, it is probably dry.
Does it burn? – Dried wood starts easy and burns well. Wet wood isn’t easy to light and produces a lot of smoke.