Choosing the best firewood for your fireplace or wood burning stove isn’t always easy. We have so many types of firewood available that it can get confusing. The best types of wood to burn are hardwoods like oak, maple, and birch, while avoiding softer woods like pine, or fir. Firewood should be well seasoned and stored in a cool, dry place until it is used.

Firewood is available in a wide variety of types, shapes, and sizes. We’ve written blog posts that explain how to select the best firewood for your chimney, and how to select, buy, and store firewood throughout the year. Today we’re going to talk about the differences between kiln dried firewood and naturally seasoned firewood.

How it Works

Naturally seasoned firewood is wood that has been allowed to dry in the sun or a controlled environment over the course of at least six months. It contains roughly 15% to 20% moisture, but should never exceed 25% moisture when it is placed in the fireplace. You want some moisture left in the wood before burning because very dry wood creates very dense smoke and doesn’t create as much warmth as wood that still contains 15% to 20% moisture.

Kiln-dried firewood usually remains between 10% and 14% moisture. There is no regulation process for kiln drying firewood, which means the wood you purchase could be much drier than it should be for the fireplace. Kiln-dried firewood will also likely pick up pollutants from areas it travels through because it absorbs moisture from various areas when it is exposed to normal air after it has been dried.

EPA Low Emission Certified Stoves

These stoves have a unique feature that allows you to turn them down to extend the burn time of the wood inside without extinguishing the flames. This type of clean, controlled fire allows you to preserve more wood while maintaining warmth. The moisture requirement for these stoves is between 16% and 20%, so naturally seasoned wood is the perfect alternative.

Store Kiln-Dried Firewood with Naturally-Dried Firewood

Kiln-dried wood is much drier, so it is not recommended for a slow burn. You can raise the moisture content of kiln-dried wood by storing it with naturally-seasoned firewood. This will balance the moisture content of the entire load of firewood so that each piece has roughly the same amount of moisture.

The chimney sweeps here at Lou Curley’s Chimney Service are CSIA Certified, and we participate in continued education throughout the year so that we’re always up to speed on the latest changes in our field. We’re located in Drexel Hill and provide all types of chimney services to homeowners and commercial property owners in the surrounding areas and along the Main Line. Give us a call at 610-626-2439 if you’re interested in scheduling an appointment for a consultation, a chimney inspection, chimney cleaning, or dryer vent cleaning.