Seems like winter just ended and yet here it comes again. It’s right around the corner really and I’m sure everyone has all their cordwood stacked and covered by now? Well if you haven’t by now it is almost too late for this season unless you have a source for truly seasoned wood. If you don’t, then the wood you’re stacking now will be perfect next year.
The current generation epa certified wood stoves require high quality fuel in order to achieve their impressive efficiency numbers of 75 to80%. The single most important factor for quality fuel is moisture content. When one is advertising seasoned wood for sale they should be selling wood that has been cut and split and air dried for a minimum of six months. It is also important that they keep it dry for the entire storage time before it is sold.
Unfortunately, I too often encounter customers who have bought wood that is wet. You should ask to see the wood before you buy it. If it is just sitting in a huge pile then only the top layer is dry. What is buried inside is more than likely wet wood. If it is covered by a tarp check to see it is not just a hole filled tarp that lets rain water in and then traps it. If it is seasoned then it should not be be damp!!! Seasoned wood should be dry to the touch and fairly light or bleached in color. There should be some checking evident which would show slight shrinkage caused by drying out. If you’re not sure then check it with a moisture meter before you pay for it.
If you’re lucky enough to buy seasoned wood it is important you keep it that way. Don’t let it just sit there in the driveway getting rained on until you get to it. Get out and stack it being careful to maintain airflow space in the pile. Then most importantly, cover it to keep it dry. Cover just the top. Don’t wrap it up completely because you will make the wood pile into green house from which moisture will never escape.