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basement wood drying test ?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by lexybird, Nov 26, 2008.

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  1. lexybird

    lexybird Minister of Fire

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    I hear what you are saying, but what I want to know is moisture content? Ain't nobody in this thread yet that's done THAT experiment!
    ===========
    good point ,so does anyone dare to take the challenge and use a moisture meter over the coarse of a week comparing one split near the stove and one same make and model outside

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  2. woodconvert

    woodconvert Minister of Fire

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    Initially, anyhow, it's not an evaporation process. When you take that "wet wood", however high the moisture content is, and put it in front or near the stove and heat it up the water expands and is forced out the end grains. That is the bulk of the moisture int he wood. From there it's evaporation.

    And I don't know what the weather is like where you all are at...but here in Michigan the RH outside hasn't been exactly good for evaporation. Here's a current RH map:

    http://www.usairnet.com/weather/maps/current/michigan/relative-humidity/

    I'd bet the farm i'll dry wood next to the stove quicker than outside.
  3. chutes

    chutes Member

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    Somebody please tell me that this isn't true. I'm burning wood that I consider to be very seasoned. I have no issues with glass, no smoke from stack and no smoldering. However, I do have splits that get wet after rain or even that get surface frost. They will "sizzle" when thrown into the stove. Sometimes even for 10 or 15 minutes, but this seems to me to be surface moisture as these splits do burn clean and hot, especially after burning off that outside moisture.

    Just want to make sure here that seasoned wood that is wet will sizzle, and that the advice above that "if it sizzles, don't sue it, it's not even semi-seasoned" is not accurate. Right?
  4. ansehnlich1

    ansehnlich1 Minister of Fire

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  5. woodconvert

    woodconvert Minister of Fire

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  6. bokehman

    bokehman Feeling the Heat

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    I was talking about dry wood. Wood that is not seasoned has moisture close to the surface, hence it sizzles. Your wood also has moisture close to the surface, but for a different reason. Personally I wouldn't be trying to burn either. Every pound of water you put in the firebox takes 1150+ BTU to evaporate. That an unnecessary waste of energy. It also means you have to leave the primary open a lot longer to stay in the "smoke free" temperature range, another unnecessary waste of energy.
  7. Woodrat

    Woodrat New Member

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    - -I think that is a good way of describing the process also. The potential pitfall to accepting and "living with" that as a definition is that doesn't that help explain the apparent differences in lots of people's experiences with "seasoned" wood (0r for that matter, the whole "seasoning" concept)? If "equilibrium with its environment" includes moisture levels that are relatively high, that particular wood is not going burn as well as wood that has acheived equilibriun in a 10% environment.
    - -Woodrat
  8. Rockey

    Rockey Minister of Fire

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    Wood moisture content that has come into equilibrium with its environment is going to be around 12% or lower 95% of the time as long as it is kept dry from rain. I have been air drying lumber for outdoor furniture for years and have taken quite a bit of MC level readings throughout the years. It would be very unusual to find plank that had a MC about 14% after it had reached equilibrium with the envirnment. Firewood at those MC levels are going to burn intensely hot. I consider 20% mc seasoned for burning, but will never turn down anything below that.
  9. chutes

    chutes Member

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    But then what are my options? If my wood is outside and if it gets frost or gets damp from rain, you're saying that you wouldn't burn that wood - even though it is seasoned. My wood is covered, but the ends will still get damp, particularly when the rain comes with wind that makes it horizontal. When I go and take splits from my stack of seasoned wood, and some of the splits are damp, what option do I have but to burn them?

    I don't mean to be confrontational at all - Lord knows there is enough of that already here - but your advice seems to be contrary to the advice that I've been given by many other people in this forum regarding burning seasoned wood that is damp from rain or frost.

    I've yet to hear anyone other than you say not to burn this wood, but if others want to chime in and agree with your opinion, I will certainly listen to them. I just don't have other options except for my current 4 cord of seasoned wood - some of which gets damp on occasion. Burns like crazy though, nice and clean in every respect....
  10. Rockey

    Rockey Minister of Fire

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    Wood that is seasoned yet becomes wet from frost, rain, snow, etc will dry very quickly in the sun, wind, or even in the basement with some decent air movement around it.
  11. chutes

    chutes Member

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    Thanks. Is it best then to keep a rotation of wood going where it can't get wet? For example, if I go out in the morning and have no wood in my basement or on my covered porch and grab some splits from a covered stack that became damp overnight, this is what I have to burn. They catch on all sides very quickly, but do sizzle for a 10 minutes or so as the outer moisture evaporates. They burn fine and I have a roaring fire in no time. Is that moisture really that bad for my liner? Again, I have never yet even seen a smudge on my glass, smoke coming from my stack, or any smoldering in the insert.

    But, if it is better to rotate a couple of days at a time onto the covered porch where they're exposed to wind (but not rain), I can do that.
  12. Woodrat

    Woodrat New Member

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  13. Rockey

    Rockey Minister of Fire

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    If I were you I would rotate the wood until it has enough time to dry the surface moisture and doesn't hiss and sizzle at all.
  14. rich81

    rich81 Member

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    so what you guys r saying is i should put me wood in the freezer? LOL!
  15. VTZJ

    VTZJ Member

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    This works very well. I am not convinced that it is economically efficient (my gut tells me "not efficient"), but it does work. Split wood in a closed reasonably tight room with a dehumidifier will dry out. Add a fan to speed the process.
  16. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    A HRV will remove a lot of humidity provided the outside air is lower humidity. A ERV tends to transfer humidity from the outbound air to the inbound air and does not do as good a job at dehumidifying.

    a HRV or ERV typically does not use as much energy as a free standing dehumidifier.
  17. LeonMSPT

    LeonMSPT Minister of Fire

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    Watch out... here in Maine, summers can be notoriously humid for long periods. Most of the ground has a decent amount of moisture in it, and there are a number of basements that end up with some moisture showing on walls and edges of floors during the summer. It's typically cooler in the basement, as ground is 45 degrees year round below the frost line.

    I've seen a couple of occasions where people stacked freshly cut and split wood in a basement, and it ended up covered with a nice layer of green mold. Not great.

    I'd leave it outside for the first few months to let the larger part of the moisture to drive off. Should be fine to move it inside after it gives up some of the initial water load. Basement's heated? Go for it... but seems like the breezes of summer would do a better job because the air is moving across the wood.
  18. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    A good test to see if the basement is wicking moisture from the ground into the house is to tape down a square of poly and see if moisture forms under it. Many basements act as humidifiers.
  19. LeonMSPT

    LeonMSPT Minister of Fire

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    Hot, humid air, present in much of Maine during the depths of the summer, when it enters a cold cellar, becomes extremely humid cool air. Folks think they're doing something good opening the cellar up in the summer. More often than not, with the ground at 45 degrees, and the air entering at 90% humidity and 85 degrees, they're turning the basement into a swamp. Add to it a few tons of firewood, unseasoned, meaning a ton and a half or so of water...

    Let's see... I think it's about 8.5 pounds to a gallon... 300 gallons of water, about....

    Wouldn't put unseasoned wood in my basement here in Maine during summer months. Might get away with it in the depths of winter, but not summertime. Of course someone else might have a specific situation when it would make sense.
  20. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

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    I see fellas around here loading basements in the fall.
  21. LeonMSPT

    LeonMSPT Minister of Fire

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    At or after the first frost, and wood that's been down awhile. I tier mine up after I split it in the spring. Let the sun shine and wind blow on it all winter. Then, either Sundays during deer season, or the week before, it goes inside.
  22. fullbore

    fullbore New Member

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    Last week I split some green(dropped 4 months ago) 24" dbh red oak rounds and brought about 20 pieces in the basement. Needless to say they didn't burn well. I hardly got the stove above 300*. I was planning on throwing them back outside until I saw this thread. I removed all the bark and dead bugs and have them sitting in my extremely dry basement at 85*. I'll wait another week and try to burn a few more pieces as well as try to get my $10 HF moisture meter to actually work.
  23. mcollect

    mcollect Member

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    After reading this tread I started to move resplit wood into the house each weekend, we only use the house on the weekends. What we noticed is that the wood in the house burned much better then the wood on the covered porch. It most work because the fire is much hotter the the wood from outside. the house is heated during the week to 50* and the wood is much lighter. BTW this is the first year using the Jotul55,and when we arrive Friday night the fire starts fast and by the AM the house is at 65*+.
  24. joesat78

    joesat78 New Member

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    I don't understand when some people claim that winter cold weather seasons the wood better or faster.

    I've tried drying my clothes both outside and inside (unheated basement) during winter... and they always took at least 3/4 times more time duration to get dried than the same during summer...

    I believe... wood seasons better in summer and in sun than anywhere in winter. The only place where the wood will season faster (lose moisture) in winter is in the same wood heated room (or a dry heated place).

    Any comments?
  25. lexybird

    lexybird Minister of Fire

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    i think some quick drying woods can season much sooner by the stove i n a closed off area but these dense woods known for their moisture like oak cherry hickory , still take an eternity to dry out enough to burn ,ive noticed this lately as i have tried to burn some black oak splits and it sizzled like bacon and dropped temps way down eve n though it sat for about 10 days by the hot stove and blower .lately im finding its better to throw a 20 pound carp in a hot fire than throwing a green split in ,...i hate greenwood
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