Why and How to Dry Wood for Eco-Friendly Burning

Why and How to Dry Wood for Eco-Friendly Burning

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Discover how eco-friendly burning helps to ensure your stove maintains a minimal impact on the environment.

Your wood burning stove is an asset to your home. It saves you money while providing beautifully radiant heat to keep your family warm inside your home no matter how frightful the weather outside may become. It is important to take care of the unit as well as the environment. Eco-friendly burning helps to ensure that the stove maintains a minimal impact on the environment and if you are not burning in an eco-friendly manner, you are doing yourself and the environment a disservice.

Why Burn Eco-Friendly?

Pollution has taken over the earth in an epic way. Every country throughout the world experiences some form of pollution. Poor air quality has been linked to such disorders as asthma, strokes, lung disease, and heart attacks. It is vital that everyone does their part to maintain clean air and even though wood burning stoves are noted as a clean burning option, there is more that can be done on an individual basis to ensure that no further pollution takes over our air. Here are some important tips for drying wood for eco-friendly burning.

Kiln Dried Wood

An option that tends to be more eco-friendly than standard drying methods is kiln dried wood. Kiln dried wood is wood that is put into a kiln at a low heat for a period of time to dry the wood out faster. On average, kiln dried wood takes half the time to dry when compared to standard wood seasoning practices. Although it is, generally more expensive, the benefit is not only an eco-friendly burning solution, but wood that burns longer and in some cases hotter. Burn times still vary, as do costs, but kiln dried wood is still remarkably more inexpensive than electric heating units. Average costs are around 14 pounds per week for the average sized home.

Choose Wood Wisely

Possibly one of the most important ways of ensuring an eco-friendly burning experience is choosing the correct wood for the job. Pine is a poor choice for burning indoors in any wood stove as it produces increased creosote that is not only a negative for the environment, but has the potential to cause fires within the unit. Ideal woods for burning in any stove are birch, beech, oak, ash, and some fruit woods such as apple. These woods maintain a medium to high heat ratio that allows for a hotter burn, thereby creating more heat for the home with less wood utilization.

Choose a Responsible Purveyor

Where you get your wood is just as important for the environment as what type it is. Many years ago, a wood purveyor would simply demolish a sect of land and move onto the next without a second thought. Since then, government regulations warrant more responsible wood cutting practices. Wood suppliers are required to replace trees cut down to provide a sustainable resource for future generations. Most large companies practice responsible growing and cutting techniques, but some of the smaller suppliers may duck out on some of these mandates. Be sure that where you get your wood from utilizes renewable growing practices for the betterment of the environment.

Home Seasoning Techniques

Wood maintaining more than 35% moisture will cause excess smoke from the flue which is a negative for the environment. When drying wood yourself, ensure that it is properly stored. A good wood shed houses a sturdy roof system to keep the bulk of the wood dry, but it is not completely enclosed. The sides of the wood shed are to remain open to ward off any possible mold from infecting the wood.

Wood should be seasoned for no less than 6 months, but some varieties require up to 3 years to properly dry. Ensure that you know the type of wood you are drying and what is required. Wood that is properly seasoned will maintain between 20% and 30% moisture content for optimal burning. It will also be substantially lighter than a fresh cut log and wood should always be split to allow moisture to seep out slowly. An unsplit log will not leak much moisture from its interior as the bark acts as a moisture seal.

Wood burning stoves have come a long way in the hundreds of years they have been in use and thankfully, modern units are designed with eco-friendly attributes built right in. It is, however, up to the stove owner to work diligently to further assist with eco-friendly burning with these tips. Take your wood burning experience to the next level with eco-friendly burning and wood drying practices to get the most out of your wood burning stove.