The Science Behind Seasoning Firewood: What You Need to Know

UncategorizedBy Mar 21, 2023

Seasoning firewood involves drying the wood to reduce its moisture content to below 20%, and is essential for efficient, less polluting burning and to reduce the risk of creosote build-up in chimneys. It is a process that can take varying amounts of time depending on the type of wood, storage conditions, and species. Properly seasoned wood will burn cleaner, hotter and longer, with reduced pollutants released. Attempting to burn unseasoned wood can lead to excess smoke and poor energy production. To season wood, it should ideally be stored outdoors on a rack with good airflow.

The Science Behind Seasoning Firewood: What You Need to Know

Firewood is an essential component of many households during the winter season. However, before you start using firewood, it needs to be seasoned. Seasoning is an essential process that involves drying the wood to reduce its moisture content. Doing this ensures that the wood burns cleaner, hotter, and longer, and reduced the risk of creosote build-up in your chimney.

So, what is the science behind seasoning firewood, and what do you need to know? In this article, we will explore seasoning firewood and how it works.

Why is Seasoning Firewood Necessary?

Firewood that appears dry on the outside usually contains a lot of water inside. When such wood is burned, the water inside boils and releases steam that results in smoke and creosote build-up in chimneys.

Seasoning firewood, on the other hand, involves drying the wood so that the moisture content is below 20%. When properly seasoned, the wood burns cleaner, hotter, and longer due to the energy released more efficiently without the water acting a cooling agent.

How Does Seasoning Work?

Seasoning firewood is a process that involves reducing the moisture content of green wood to levels below 20%. The rate at which you can achieve this level of moisture content depends on several factors, including the storage conditions and the wood’s species.

When drying firewood, the first and most important step is to have a good set of a rack to place the wood on. This rack should expose the wood to direct sunlight and wind to accelerate the drying process.

It would be best to stack the wood loosely with equal spacing between the logs of wood to ensure proper airflow, and it would be advisable if the ground the wood is being raised to avoid the moisture from the soil or the laying of pallets underneath the stack, ensuring proper ventilation.

The length of time it takes to season firewood varies depending on the type of wood being seasoned. Hardwoods such as oak and maple can take up to two years to attain the desired moisture content, while softwoods such as pine take less than one year.

The ideal moisture percentage of properly seasoned wood is between 15%-20%. A moisture level below this range will result in the wood drying out too much, making it harder to light and burn. Wet wood or wood with high moisture content will result in the creation of excess smoke, and the burning of the wood will produce a hissing sound.

What are the benefits of properly seasoned firewood?

1. Firewood burns more efficiently.

2. The process of seasoning wood will reduce the wood splits, and it will also reduce the risk of smoke production, including creosote build-up.

3. Properly seasoned wood produces a cleaner wood fire with fewer pollutants released.

4. Highly seasoned wood also produces more heat that warms your home hence assistance saving on fuel costs on the long run


1. Can I burn wood that is not seasoned?

Burning wood that is not seasoned will give too much smoke to your home’s atmosphere. Inconclusion, it probably wouldn’t burn correctly, meaning you would not be using the energy produced optimally.

2. How do I know if my wood is properly seasoned?

Properly seasoned wood will have a moisture percentage of between 15%-20%.

3. Can I season wood inside my home?

No, it would be best if you seasoned wood outdoors on a rack, protected from the weather but with ample airflow.

In conclusion, seasoning firewood is a crucial process that ensures your firewood burns efficiently, with little risk of smoke and creosote build-up. By following the steps mentioned above and understanding the science behind the process, you can ensure that your wood is seasoned to the appropriate moisture content and ready for use in your wood-burning stove or fireplace.