1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)
    Caluwe - Passion for Fire and Water ( Pellet and Wood Hydronic and Space Heating)

Firewood dilemma

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by gyrfalcon, Sep 1, 2009.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. gyrfalcon

    gyrfalcon Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2007
    Messages:
    1,590
    Loc:
    Champlain Valley, Vermont
    Good to know. Thanks. I'm not that worried about creosote, since my first year burning I had even lousier wood and had no idea what I was doing and couldn't really get a good hot fire going for very long at all, and my sweep only got about 2 cups of creosote out of the chimney total the next fall. I have a new metalbestos chimney with a 6-foot double-wall inside flue. I have been very well trained here, too, to make a very hot fire for an hour or so first thing in the AM, too. I'm a good doobie. :)

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. gyrfalcon

    gyrfalcon Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2007
    Messages:
    1,590
    Loc:
    Champlain Valley, Vermont
    With my very small stove, though, it's not like I've got the house at 80 all winter, more like 70-something near the stove and 60s on the far sides of the room once we get into December. Do you really think it'll dry faster indoors than outside in much dryer air and wind and direct sun? I definitely buy shuttling a week's worth at a time in and out of the space right next to the hearth, but I wonder whether it makes sense to haul it in only to stack it in a 63, 64-degree space with no wind and higher humidity than outdoor air?
  3. CTburning

    CTburning New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    Messages:
    224
    Loc:
    Western CT
    Why would the air inside have higher humidity than the outside air? The inside of my house gets down to 25% humidity during the winter. That along with the warmer air from the stove is going to dry it out faster than just leaving it out in the cold dry air. The oak I wouldn't mess with too much. I've burned plenty of wet red oak and even got it down to a science. Get the fire red hot and then throw in the chunks of oak. The fire will cool down and the wood will sizzle for awhile. After you "dry" out the wood it burns good. I did that for the first two years with my old smoke dragon. Last winter I went through two cords of maple pretty quickly but stayed very warm. When I ran out I tried some of the oak and when it started to hiss, I gave up for the winter and let the furnace keep me if not warm, above freezing.
  4. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    Messages:
    2,575
    Loc:
    SE PA
    It will dry much faster indoors than outdoors in the winter, provided you're not humidifying the indoors to >80% RH, or stacking the wood in a small unventilated space. The vapor pressure of the water is much higher at 65F than it is at 20F. I personally think the difference between 65 and 75F (e.g. near or far from hearth) is comparatively negligible.

    Of course, evaporating the water indoors will suck up the same amount of heat you would have lost vaporizing it in the stove. You will get a cleaner burn and hotter stove temps drying indoors compared to mixing in wet, but not more BTUs.
  5. gyrfalcon

    gyrfalcon Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2007
    Messages:
    1,590
    Loc:
    Champlain Valley, Vermont
    Well, because the house holds living, respirating mammals like me in an enclosed space, plus steam from cooking plus the occasional clothes dryer load, which in my house vents inside through a water-filled container, not to mention showers and washing the dishes, etc., plus the steamer I keep on the stove to keep from drying out my skin, nose, and the cats' fur. IOW, it's a heck of a lot dryer outside than it is inside, not to mention there's no wind inside. In my experience, firewood dries at least as quickly in the winter as it does in the summer, if not quicker, in our very dry winter air. If the air in the house was as dry as it is outside all winter, it would be flat-out unlivable.
  6. gyrfalcon

    gyrfalcon Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2007
    Messages:
    1,590
    Loc:
    Champlain Valley, Vermont
    Ah. Gotcha. So the main point, then, is minimizing creosote and not struggling so much with the fire more than anything else, it sounds like. There's just no cheating possible on the physics of the thing, is there!

    I think maybe I will try comparing the moisture content of some of this wood inside and outside over a month or so in mid-winter, just for the heck of it.
  7. branchburner

    branchburner Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2008
    Messages:
    2,001
    Loc:
    southern NH
    Like any farmer, I think your "crop" of curing wood is going to depend a bit on the weather - hard to say if until you see what this winter brings. I was hoping to stretch my sun and air seasoning from October/November into December last year, but that didn't work out so good.
  8. gyrfalcon

    gyrfalcon Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2007
    Messages:
    1,590
    Loc:
    Champlain Valley, Vermont
    Why? You mean because of snow? Aside from the hassle of digging it out, I've not found that snow has any significant effect on the dryness of the wood. If it gets a little damp from melting snow/ice once I bring it in, half a day by the hearth dries it right out again. I don't even bother covering mine on the top. It's just as much of a hassle dealing with a snow-covered tarp top as it is with snow-covered wood stacks, and not much less snow gets into the wood anyway except for the top layer.

    You may have higher humidity being closer to the coast, but my experience is that it dries just as rapidly outside in winter as it does in summer, if not moreso. But we do have mostly bone-dry air in winter in western Vermont, despite the nearby lake.
  9. Ratman

    Ratman Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2009
    Messages:
    458
    Loc:
    Bedford, NH
    You are posting a concern regarding wet wood for this years burn and you make no plans and take no precations regarding rain or snow...

    hehehehe
  10. gyrfalcon

    gyrfalcon Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2007
    Messages:
    1,590
    Loc:
    Champlain Valley, Vermont
    Heheheh yourself. My concern is unseasoned wood, not wood that's water damp mebbe a quarter inch or less on the outside.
  11. woodgeek

    woodgeek Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    Messages:
    2,575
    Loc:
    SE PA
    Yah, every pound of water you evaporate from the wood outside (on Mother Nature's dime) is another 1000 BTUs you get to keep in your house. So, from a BTU point of view, you DO want to keep most of your wood outside as long as possible, and just keep a split indoors long enough (e.g. a couple weeks) to get it burnable. In the end, this loss is pretty negligible, equivalent to another couple lbs of wood per day and no different from the energy costs running a humidifier in the winter.

    The last few % of MC are really all about getting your stove to run smoothly and as intended, not BTUs, which we all have in abundance.
  12. gyrfalcon

    gyrfalcon Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2007
    Messages:
    1,590
    Loc:
    Champlain Valley, Vermont
    Thanks very much, Woodgeek. It's really great to get info based on the actual physics, rather than hunches and interpretation of experiences, which is pretty much all I have to go on personally. With a stove that's really too small for the task, every fraction of a BTU matters to me a great deal in the dead of winter. The savings I'd been building up to get a larger one got wiped out and more by a series of unanticipated expenses this spring/summer, so I'm stuck for at least another year with the situation, and not enough dry wood to boot.

    I'm grateful for the good advice on this site more than I can possibly say.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page