# Inefficiency of burning wet wood

Posted By M1sterM, Aug 29, 2008 at 12:37 PM

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1. #1

### M1sterM Member 2. ```NULL ```

Aug 21, 2008
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I have a couple questions, and before I Google it, I thought I'd ask all you experts. A recurring theme on many of these threads is the issue of wood moisture content. 1) What are the percentages measuring, is it moisture content by weight or by volume?

2) We know how many BTU's there are per pound of wood, and even per different species of wood. However, if the average moisture content of the sticks are averaging, say, 25%, how many BTU's are you truly getting out of the wood, vs. transporting the moisture up the chimney? Obviously, you need to know the answer to #1 before you do the calculation. If someone answer's #1 for me, I can do some example calculations for #2, but anyone else, feel free.

2. #2

### Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire 2. ```NULL ```

May 20, 2008
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1)It's by weight. We typically use weight of water/total weight of wood + moisture.

2) you first need to multiply the mass of water in the wood x rise in temp to ignition x heat capacity of water (1 cal/g C).
Then add the product of the # moles water x molar enthalpy of vaporization.
Then add any additional heating of the gas (vapor heat capacity x g x temp change).
Convert to "per pound" and subtract from BTU/pound of wood (which is normally tabulated at something like 20% moisture- so only do the heat calc for the water amount OVER 20% mc in the wood).

3. #3

### Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire 2. ```NULL ```

May 20, 2008
6,589
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S.NH- Mass's smoking section
By the way- this does NOT account for inefficiency of burning either! If you get a smokey fire with wet wood- which ya do- then that means not all of the energy is being released (see wood gas thread) as particles are unburnt. You would also need to know the inefficiency of the process to do this calculation properly- it's not that all of the heat is being produced and some is wasted on boiling water- some heat is left on that table in the form of smoke!

4. #4

### BJ64 Minister of Fire 2. ```NULL ```

Jul 24, 2008
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Wow! Just think how smart A.P. would have been if they had not kicked him out of school for drawing cartoons!

5. #5

### ScottF New Member 2. ```NULL ```

Aug 7, 2008
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Yes that was a very educated answer. Im guessing AP is a chemist or an engineer of some sort by profession?

6. #6

### Jags Moderate Moderator 2. ```NULL ``` Staff Member

Aug 2, 2006
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Naaa- he just stayed in a Holiday Inn Express last night.

7. #7

### JPapiPE New Member 2. ```NULL ```

Jun 10, 2008
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Nah, he just got his paint brush stuck to the pallet and decided to become a rocket scientist

8. #8

### Apprentice_GM Feeling the Heat 2. ```NULL ```

Aug 6, 2008
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Elsewhere AP has posted he is an analytical chemist. By his first post in this thread you'd think he's still trying to prove it!! grin LOL

9. #9

### RedRanger New Member 2. ```NULL ```

Nov 19, 2007
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There is NO efficiency in burning non-seasoned wood with a moisture content more than 25%--PERIOD!!

Specially with a newer epa certified stove or insert. just equals= smoke and more smoke and very little heat.

10. #10

### BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division 2. ```NULL ``` Staff Member

Nov 18, 2005
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Say what, eh?

11. #11

### cmonSTART Minister of Fire 2. ```NULL ```

Nov 29, 2007
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moisture content GREATER than????

12. #12

### myzamboni Minister of Fire 2. ```NULL ```

May 22, 2007
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Remind me never to get into a war of wits with a Potter :cheese:

13. #13

### Dix Minister of Fire 2. ```NULL ```

May 27, 2008
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You are a smart man.

14. #14

### RedRanger New Member 2. ```NULL ```

Nov 19, 2007
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Alright , then I mean greater than 25%. :red:

15. #15

### ROYJ24 Member 2. ```NULL ```

Oct 3, 2007
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S. JERSEY
Can u say that in laymans term? Do I divide by 6 carry the 4, HUH? :roll:

16. #16

### Cluttermagnet Minister of Fire 2. ```NULL ```

Jun 23, 2008
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Mid Atlantic
Moles degrees celcius per kilocalorie squared times the velocity of light times the gravity gradient g divided by the levity factor k...

Gee, I didn't know they had a mole problem in that area.
I'd hire an exterminator pronto.

17. #17

### fossil Accidental Moderator 2. ```NULL ``` Staff Member

Sep 30, 2007
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A pound of water requires 1 BTU to raise its temperature 1 degree F...until it gets to its boiling (or saturation) point, which depends on the pressure it's under. Since we don't run our woodstoves pressurized, we're normally talking in the expected range of atmospheric pressures spanning our elevations...not a great deal of difference so far as water's concerned. Let's just say we're at sea level and normal atmospheric pressure, then the saturation (boiling) temperature is 212 F. We've expended 1 BTU per degree of temperature change to get the pound of water in our wood up to 212 F. Now, in order to turn that pound of water into steam at 212 F, we have to pump in the latent heat of vaporization, which is roughly 1000 BTU's, if I recall correctly, something in that magnitude, anyway. So, we've burned a bunch of wood to heat a bunch of water, then burned a bunch more wood to turn the hot water into steam, and now all that steam is going to go up our stovepipes, carrying all our heat with it, just itchin' to lose its latent heat and condense back into a liquid, depositing all sorts of nasty things with it (what we call creosote). Water...can't live with it, can't live without it. Water in beer = good. Water in firewood = bad. Rick

18. #18

### BJ64 Minister of Fire 2. ```NULL ```

Jul 24, 2008
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Loc:
NE Oklahoma
I KNOW where you learned all that from. Most of that came straight out of a Navy boiler operating book!

19. #19

### Dix Minister of Fire 2. ```NULL ```

May 27, 2008
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Long Island, NY
This is gonna be good.

:lol:

20. #20

### fossil Accidental Moderator 2. ```NULL ``` Staff Member

Sep 30, 2007
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Oh no, I've been outed! :ahhh: 30+ years in uniform, propulsion engineer all the way, and 3 degrees in Mechanical Engineering, and that's all I can remember anymore. And that gave me a headache. %-P Rick

21. #21

### fossil Accidental Moderator 2. ```NULL ``` Staff Member

Sep 30, 2007
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And I've named my ship's wheel Eileen. :lol: Rick

22. #22

### Dix Minister of Fire 2. ```NULL ```

May 27, 2008
5,872
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Loc:
Long Island, NY
Aww, how sweet :red:

Wait, I feel hands upon my throat :snake:

:lol:

I got a load of firewood last year in February, the wood dude was away on vacation. His assistant pulled from the front of the pile, making deliveries to customers with freshly split wood, instead of the seasoned stuff out on the lower back 40. It was a PITA to get dry. John made it right when he got back by bringing 1/2 a load of very seasoned... atleast I was able to keep cranking.

The 1/2 cord that's left of it is standing at the ready, all nice & dried, ready to do it's service, in the line of duty this winter :coolsmile:

I heart my firewood guy like whoa

23. #23

### fossil Accidental Moderator 2. ```NULL ``` Staff Member

Sep 30, 2007
10,550
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Don't worry, I won't steer you wrong. %-P Rick

24. #24

### Dix Minister of Fire 2. ```NULL ```

May 27, 2008
5,872
1,420
Loc:
Long Island, NY

"And all I need is a tall ship, and a star to steer her by." John Masefield

25. #25

### begreen Mooderator 2. ```NULL ``` Staff Member

Nov 18, 2005
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She's a cow, you need a steer.