If you’re trying to get a fire going in your fire pit or anywhere else, then you need to make sure you’re using the right kind of wood.

Dried wood (usually with less than 20-25% moisture in it) is the ideal choice for any fire, as wet wood can cause all sorts of issues. Below, you can read our comprehensive guide on how to dry out wet firewood fast, as well as learn about the potential hazards of using wet wood to start a fire.

So, why should you dry out wet wood?

There are several issues associated with using wood that hasn’t fully dried when starting a fire. 

  1. Dried wood burns more efficiently

For starters, your fire will burn much more efficiently when using dried firewood. If your goal is to create a fire that can heat up your house during winter, you won’t have as much success using wet wood.

  1. Burning wet wood could be a fire hazard

On top of efficiency, dried firewood (also called seasoned wood) helps avoid certain fire hazards. When you burn wet wood,  the fire you generate creates a dangerous creosote build-up on your fireplace and chimney, which is stubborn to remove and can lead to a chimney fire if not cleaned up properly. 

  1. Burning wet wood could be a health hazard

You should also be careful about how much smoke you generate. Wet and damp wood not only burns less hot and takes longer to ignite properly, but it also produces a lot of smoke which can damage the lungs long-term.

Using fully dried, sustainable firewood from reputable suppliers like Green Olive Firewood can help prevent the health and environmental issues caused by burning wet wood.

How to dry out wet firewood fast all year round

Now that you know how important it is to use seasoned wood for fire starting, it’s time to get to work. There are several methods people use to dry out their wood as fast as possible, so let’s have a look at some of them.

Air-dry your wood in a sunny location

The most common method of drying wood is air-drying, which means simply storing your wood outside and letting it dry naturally. It is the best way to dry firewood if you simply want to let the weather do its thing without much effort.

For that, you will need to plan ahead and allow enough time for the wood to fully season. Remember – while softwood dries quicker, it also burns faster, so you will need to consider a larger quantity for the same amount of heat as hardwood depending on the efficiency of your appliance. However, in an approved appliance kiln dried softwood logs generate merely 10% of the emissions produced by fresh logs and burn really efficiently too.

For proper air-drying, you will also need adequate space and proper ventilation. It is recommended to keep the wood off the ground, and to stack it in ways that allow air to circulate between the logs (e.g. a criss-cross pattern). You can also remove the bark to speed up the drying process.

If rain is an issue, make sure to cover your wood pile with a waterproof tarp. However, don’t cover the sides of the woodpile – water will evaporate much slower if you do. And don’t forget to remove the tarp as soon as the sun comes back up to avoid any condensation! 

Use a firewood kiln

If you’re looking into how to dry wet firewood fast, you could also consider using a firewood kiln which is a lot more time-efficient.

A firewood kiln is a specialised oven that heats up the logs over a period of time, using heat and air flow to eliminate the moisture in an uniform way. Compared to air-drying which takes a long time, kiln-drying can get your wood ready for the fire in 5-6 days! This process not only dries out the wood much quicker, but it can also kill any pests and insects still living in the wood. 

While air-drying is certainly more cost efficient, we recommend kiln-drying for a quick, convenient drying process.

Split the wood

Most wood will have a moisture content of roughly 30-35% when freshly cut, and leaving it to dry for several months can take that down to 15-20%, which is what you’re looking for.

An easy way to speed up the drying process is to split the wood into smaller pieces, for example quarters of the original log. Smaller pieces of wood will have a larger surface area for the moisture to escape, meaning they will dry out much quicker. When splitting your wood, make sure to also consider the size of your firepit.

For easy wood splitting, use an axe or maul, or you can use a chainsaw to speed up the process even further.

How much time do you need to dry wood?

So, how long does wet firewood take to dry? Not all wood dries out the same, as the process can take longer depending on the type of wood you’re using, the size of the logs, the way they are stored and the method of drying. 

If you are drying softwood like pine trees or cedar, it will usually dry quickly in around 6-12 months. Hardwood (e.g. oak, apple) on the other hand is heavier than softwood and can take even up to 18 months to fully dry. With kiln-drying, you can cut that time down to just 6-8 weeks no matter what type of wood you’re using.

How to identify good, dry firewood

Before using your wood to start a fire, it’s important to check whether the wood is fully dry. You can do so in several ways, including:

  1. Checking the appearance

Dry wood will be paler in colour, lighter, and the bark peels off easily. You can also check the grain at the ends for cracks, as they are a sign the wood has dried out properly. 

  1. Checking how it sounds

Another easy way to check if wood is dry is by thumping two pieces of wood together. If they are dry, you’ll hear a hollow sound. On the other hand, wood that’s still wet will create a dull thud.

  1. Burning it

If the other two methods don’t work, you can always throw a small piece of wood into a fire to check its dryness levels. Dry wood will catch on fire in less than a minute, while wet wood will sizzle for longer. 

  1. Using a wood moisture meter

A surefire way to check if the wood is dry is to simply use a moisture meter. You’ll need to take readings both from the outside and the inside of a round log. You’re looking for an average moisture content of 20% or below – if the readings show you that, then your wood is dried up and ready to burn.

  1.  Checking the label

If you’re buying pre-dried wood like our olive firewood logs or our kiln-dried hardwood logs, look for the Woodsure Ready to Burn logo. This logo will show you that the product has passed all the quality assurance measures and is in perfect condition to be used for your stove, your firepit, or for a BBQ fire.

Buy Firewood Logs From Expert Suppliers and Experience the Difference Today!

The drying up process of wood can be quite time and resource-consuming, so if you need dry wood as soon as possible, we’ve got you covered! With Green Olive Firewood’s fully dried firewood logs you can enjoy a superior firewood experience, without worrying about the risks associated with burning wet wood.

Not only this, you can get FREE delivery to certain postcodes on orders over £50 with us!