6 May 2024

Dry firewood and the reasons for choosing it

Among the many resources for domestic heating, dry firewood is still an affordable and sustainable choice. However, there are considerations to always keep in mind when using this material, i.e. it must be well dried and free of too much moisture.

In this article, we will explore the reasons why this solution is still an optimal choice, analysing its advantages and the secrets to recognising the best firewood. We will also try to answer one of the questions most often asked: how to dry wood quickly? 

The drier the better: the advantages of dry wood

As we have already mentioned, the secret to exploiting the full potential of firewood is only one: the level of drying. Wood must in fact be well dried; when it still contains a high percentage of moisture in it, during combustion much of the energy and heat produced is ‘wasted’ due to water evaporation. In short, all the efficiency of the heating process is reduced and the harmful residues produced are increased!

To keep this from happening, the wood must be properly dried . If this happens, humidity is reduced within certain predetermined limits, thus achieving efficient combustion that not only results in higher energy efficiency, but also in a reduction of harmful emissions released into the environment, as well as less maintenance of chimneys and stoves.

Consumption of this material can also be lowered by drying. When firewood is well dried, it maintains a stable and lively flame during combustion, without the need to add new logs to revive the firebox. By doing so, it is also possible to take advantage of constant heating inside the room, and thus of increased living comfort for those in the home.

We have therefore gained an insight into how the use of dry firewood subjected to a prior drying process is advantageous from several points of view:

  • Increases energy efficiency and heating capacity
  • Smoke and pollutant emissions are reduced
  • Increases living comfort
  • Maintenance required for cleaning the combustion site and related chimney is reduced

Criteria to consider when choosing a good firewood

When selecting firewood, it is important to pay attention to several criteria to ensure that you get a quality material. First of all, you must check the moisture content of wood, which should be less than 20%. This can be measured using a hygrometer or by assessing the presence of cracks and crazing on the wood, which is a sign of complete drying.

Furthermore, it is advisable to choose wood from hard trees, such as oak, beech or ash, as they tend to have a higher density and burn more slowly and evenly than wood from soft trees. In the case of natural drying, wood should preferably be cut and left to dry for at least six months or even a whole year in order to reduce the moisture it contains so that it burns efficiently and sustainably.

Finally, it is also important to consider the size and shape of the wood. Logs should be cut into uniformly sized pieces, which facilitate fire management and lighting.

Firewood pallets and drying solutions

For those who wish to produce dry firewood themselves, there are several practical solutions for drying firewood pallets naturally. One of the most common methods is the use of a well-ventilated storeroom or shelter, where logs can be stored to allow air to pass through and facilitate the physiological drying process, which can take up to more than a year.

In this case, it is important to ensure that the wood is raised off the ground to avoid contact with moisture in the soil and that it is exposed to the wind and sun to accelerate the drying process. However, natural drying is less effective and faster than artificial drying, and DIY solutions do not always lead to optimal results.

A more efficient and practical option is offered by the use of a drying kiln, more commonly known as a firewood dryer. This machine precisely controls the temperature and humidity of the wood inside the drying chamber.

Wood drying systems can be particularly useful in regions with humid climates or in situations where you want to speed up the drying process without having to wait too long.

Otherwise, it is possible to purchase pre-dried wood from specialised suppliers, equipped with specific drying systems, which offer high-quality, ready-to-use products. This option can be particularly convenient for those who do not have sufficient space or time to dry wood on their own, while still ensuring a high quality product and optimum performance.

At Incomac, we have designed and developed several wood drying solutions, including dedicated firewood systems such as: ICD thermal fluid drying systems and the Mac and Mac Hybrid heat pump dryers.

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