When you search for “firewood for sale near me”, you would be redirected to sites that sell either seasoned or unseasoned firewood. While both look like dead trees chopped into neat blocks, they are quite different. Let’s dive deeper and figure out how they differ from each other and which one you should choose.
is wood that has been cut, split, and dried for a few months or years. Seasoned firewood contains less than 20 percent moisture by weight and has a wide variety of uses. From fireplaces and woodstoves to smoking meat and more.
On the other hand, unseasoned firewood is freshly cut wood that has more than 60 percent moisture content and doesn't burn as efficiently as seasoned firewood. Water content is the key factor that differentiates firewood and completely changes how both types of firewood burn.
Identifying seasoned firewood is fairly easy. You’ll need to look out for:
- Split and cracked edges.
- Dry and chalky appearance.
- A bitter smell.
- Much lighter and smaller than unseasoned firewood.
- A bit of fungus growing at the end.
- Checking patterns since the wood has lost moisture over several seasons.
As mentioned above, unseasoned firewood is freshly cut wood that is made up of more than 60 percent water. The water content makes it very difficult when you try to ignite and burn the wood. Usually, you’ll get seasoned firewood from retail sellers. However, if you search for “local firewood near me”, you may be able to get unseasoned firewood from a distributor.
You can identify unseasoned firewood by looking out for:
- A white, yellow, or greener appearance.
- A fresh and sweet smell.
- Heavy weight due to that extra water content.
With that out of the way, you need to be aware of the inconveniences and dangers of burning unseasoned firewood. Let’s check them out.
Lighting unseasoned firewood is very difficult
When you’ll try to light unseasoned firewood, you’re going to run into trouble if you’re not prepared. Since more than 60 percent of the wood is made from water, it would not catch on fire easily. Even if you keep the unseasoned firewood over a big pile of kindling and use a fan to rage and engulf the fire, the unseasoned firewood would take a long while before it catches on fire. Certain varieties like ashwood simply won’t catch on fire when it's freshly chopped, unseasoned, and green.
Unlike dried and seasoned firewood
, unseasoned firewood burns at half the temperature. As the wood burns, you’ll see a lot of steam, smoke, and sometimes water in liquid form coming out of the wood. A significant portion of the heat energy produced by burning the wood is constantly used to evaporate the moisture inside. This leads to inefficient burning that leaves you large pieces of unusable and wasted timber at the end. If you rely on that heat to keep your home warm or cook a meal, you’re going to be very disappointed.
Unseasoned wood also creates a lot of pollutants. Compared to seasoned firewood, it smolders and smokes a lot more. As the fire evaporates the water trapped in the wood, a lot of water vapor gets mixed into that smoke. When you inhale that smoke it can irritate your respiratory tract. Unseasoned firewood also creates much more creosote than seasoned firewood.
Creosote is a carcinogen that can wreak havoc on your respiratory system and cause long-term harm. It's created when wood burns incompletely. Since unseasoned firewood has so much water, it burns incompletely most of the time. Creosote is the ashy substance that lines your woodstove and chimney walls as a disgusting goo. If you leave it unattended and don’t clean the chimney and wood stove, it builds up as an oily goo that can even catch on fire and burn down your home.
That’s why you should always choose seasoned firewood when you opt for firewood delivery to your home from a local retailer or an online store. Some people decide to buy unseasoned firewood or chop some to make their own seasoned firewood. However, it’s not that simple. Let’s figure out why.
Felling and Splitting
There’s a lot that goes into seasoning firewood and it starts with the difficult process of felling a tree. Even if you live in the middle of the woods and have a Forest Service-issued permit for felling trees, it's a very dangerous job. Even professional loggers have to plan out a lot of things before cutting down a tree. It involves a lot of calculations, prediction, safety equipment, and more. After you cut down a tree, you need to split the wood into smaller pieces so that they can be dried faster.
Stacking and Drying
If you leave the split wood randomly in your backyard, it isn't going to dry quickly. That’s why they need to be stacked to optimize airflow and increase wood exposure to the air. After you do that, drying is going to take months or years. It depends on the wood types. Cherry wood can be dried within three months, however Oak and Maple would take at least 6 months to a year to be seasoned.
Drying firewood at home isn’t easy. You may not have the space, expertise, or patience to season your firewood. It’s simply more convenient to look up “firewood for sale near me” and pay for the firewood delivery.
Don’t fall for marketing gimmicks and questionable advertisements that count the benefits of unseasoned firewood. Seasoned firewood is a much better choice since it's a more efficient fuel that lights up quickly, burns the right way, and doesn’t try to give you respiratory diseases. Moreover, seasoned firewood can also reach a high temperature of around 2000 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s simply unachievable by unseasoned firewood.
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