Freshly cut or wet firewood is usable in a fire. Using firewood with 30% and 50% moisture content will leave a lot of smoke in your house, and the accumulation of that sticky creosote in the ceiling might cause a chimney fire. So how do you dry firewood fast if you are in a hurry?
If you don’t want to wait for long for your firewood to dry, you can leave them outside in the sun or put them inside the garage. You can quickly dry firewood that is wet due to rain (water-wet firewood) using an oven, space heater, or dehumidifier.
Below, I’ve explained the different ways to season firewood fast and how long it takes to season firewood. Some recommended tools for this whole process are a hygrometer (ThermoPro TP50 Digital Hygrometer) and a wood moisture meter (Giant Viking Moisture Meter).
How long does it take to season firewood?
It takes 6 to 12 months for freshly cut firewood to completely dry. However, the duration of seasoning firewood depends on the type of wood, starting moisture content, seasoning method, climate, and how well you’ve covered the wood.
In general, freshly cut firewood, also known as green or sap-wet firewood, usually takes 6 to 12 months to dry out thoroughly. Wet firewood, also known as water-wet firewood, will take a few days to a month to season.
Remember, certain types of wood, such as poplar, pine, and ash take a short period to season completely.
How to dry firewood fast
The seasoning period for freshly cut or water-wet firewood might seem like a long time. Fortunately, you can drastically reduce the seasoning period by following simple steps.
Here are different ways to dry wood fast for use when an unexpected freeze is on its way.
1. Dry the wood in the oven
One of the best ways to speed up the drying of firewood is using an oven. The heat will draw all the moisture from your firewood and make it season fast. However, the princess is risky, so take all the precautionary measures to stay safe.
Here’s how to use an oven to dry firewood in a short period:
- Cut your firewood into small sizes that will fit in your oven. Splitting the wood in the middle might also increase efficiency when drying with an oven.
- Turn your oven on to about 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Turning your oven higher than literally means you want to burn wood which might pose a fire hazard. If your oven has a convection fan, you must also turn it on.
- Once the oven is ready, place the pieces of wood into the oven racks. Lay them perfectly on the racks, ensuring none of the pieces fall through the rack.
- Place a tray containing water at the bottom of the oven rack to help with humidity.
- Leave the firewood in the oven for 30 to 60 minutes to dry. The time you will leave your firewood in the oven will vary based on the wood type and moisture content.
- Check the firewood from time to time to ensure it hasn’t caught fire.
- Remove the pieces to check if they are dry. A moisture meter can help you determine if the pieces are dry.
2. Use a fan to dry firewood
Blowing air at full force towards the wet firewood will speed up the seasoning process by evaporating moisture faster. A high-powered fan can also help you dry your firewood fast if they are not too damp.
Here are the steps you to follow when using a fan for seasoning firewood fast:
- Measure the humidity of the room. Since this method requires a dry, no-humid environment, use a hygrometer to measure the humidity of the room where you intend to dry the firewood. Any humidity between 65% and 70% will be good for drying firewood with a fan.
- Get a high-powered fan for the job. A dinky desk fan might not be effective because it doesn’t blow air at full force.
- Split the firewood horizontally and stack them in a single row. Splitting can be done outside or inside the room where drying occurs.
- Turn the fan on full speed and blow air towards the wet wood. If the air is dry enough, the fan can reduce the moisture levels of your firewood within a few days.
This method works perfectly in an environment with relatively low humidity. Otherwise, you will pull moisture from the air towards the wood if the room has high humidity.
When done correctly, running a fan in the house can cut the drying time of wood by 50%.
3. Use a dehumidifier
As stated earlier, a fan is ineffective for drying firewood in a highly humid environment. This is where a dehumidifier comes in. It will work in conjunction with a fan to facilitate the drying process.
There are two ways you can use a dehumidifier to dry your firewood:
- The first one is to use a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from the room where the drying process will occur and then up on your fan to remove moisture from the firewood.
- The second method is to run both the dehumidifier and fan simultaneously.
One of the disadvantages of using a dehumidifier is the high costs associated with the method. You will need to cater for the cost of both the fan and dehumidifier and the cost of electricity. If you live in areas that experience long winters, you might consider investing in a dehumidifier dry kiln, as it will save you a lot of money.
4. Dry firewood using a heater
You can either use an electric heater or a space heater. Whichever option you choose, you need to take precautions when using an electric heater or space heater to dry firewood.
If it’s a space heater, look for one with a fan. Unlike electric heaters that heat the air, a space heater with a fan dries firewood by blowing warm air off the pieces.
Follow these steps when using a heater to dry firewood:
- Cut the wood into small, thinner pieces because they dry much quicker.
- Arrange the firewood on the drying rack, ensuring enough space between them. The firewood will dry faster when stalked properly.
- Move your firewood around 2 to 3 meters from the heater. Don’t place the firewood on your heater as this might light or burn them up.
- Turn on your space heater to start the seasoning process and check the firewood as it dries.
It will take 2 to 3 hours to dry out completely if they are small wood pieces. It will take a little bit longer for the pieces to dry out completely for large dam pieces.
5. Leave the firewood in the garage
Remaining your firewood in the garage is the best way to dry it quickly. The time it takes for firewood to dry out completely in the garage depends on the type of firewood and its condition.
Here are a few things you need to take into consideration when storing firewood in the garage:
- Inspect the firewood thoroughly before you take them to the garage. Inspection can help you remove rotten pieces or ones with a bug infestation.
- Don’t move the firewood close to potential hazards such as garage heaters, exhaust pipes, power sources, and other things that are likely to ignite the fire in the garage.
- Use the pallets to elevate the firewood off the ground—to keep them safe from bugs, moisture, cold flow, and other elements.
- Arrange your firewood in rows to facilitate access and improve your safety.
- Stack the firewood around 4 inches from the wall.
- Ensure your garage doors and windows are secure.
Unfortunately, drying firewood in the garage will take a little longer than drying it outside. Freshly cut firewood can take four to six months before it dries completely.
6. Drying your firewood outside in the sun
Sun-drying is a good option during summer when there are no rains. To start the drying process, you will need to leave your freshly cut firewood outside in the sun and wind. Here’s what you need to do:
- Cut your firewood into the right length so you won’t have to re-cut them when using them.
- Split the firewood into small thinner pieces. Wood that is 4inches in diameter will dry up faster than thicker firewood.
- Stake the firewood, ensuring there is plenty of space for air to flow around and in the piece.
- Cover the firewood with a lid to keep the rain off. Don’t use waterproof covers are they can double the time it takes for the firewood to dry.
Can you dry firewood in a day?
You can dry firewood in a day depending on the type of wood, size of the wood, condition of the wood, and the drying method you want to use. For instance, wet firewood will take 2 to 3 hours to dry when using an electric heater or space heater. Freshly cut firewood will take a little bit longer because of the high moisture content.
How to tell if the firewood is dry enough.
These are some of the ways to tell if your firewood is dry:
- Cracking along the grain. Depending on the type of tree, dry firewood tends to crack at the end and along the grains.
- Reduced weight. Dry firewood is lighter than damp firewood.
- Warmth. Freshly cut wood feels cold and damp on the cut ends, while dry firewood feels dry and warm.
- Readiness to burn. Small pieces of damp firewood will sizzle when thrown into the coals of a glowing fire, while dry pieces will catch on fire in less than a minute.
- Peeling bark. The bark of dry wood peels off easily compared to freshly cut wood.
You can also use a moisture meter to tell if your firewood is completely dry. A moisture meter will accurately tell the moisture level of dry firewood.
The best way to dry firewood fast is by running a fan and dehumidifier in the room to speed up moisture loss. You can also put a few pieces of wood in an oven to season them quickly. Leaving wood in the sun is also a great option, but the firewood will be ready in about 6 months.