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Speading up drying time, does a fan help?

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by fishguy, Dec 16, 2008.

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  1. fishguy

    fishguy New Member

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    OK, call me a rookie, but I will need more wood than I got at first for my new(first year with) wood stove. The first 1.5 cords the guy dropped off in early fall was well seasoned, but the second 1.5 cords was not. The wood was cut almost a year ago but not split until a week or so ago. My question is, if I put the less seasoned stuff in my un-heated garage with a fan moving the air around will it help? The wood is about 50% oak, 20% locust and the balance is a mix of hardwoods. The wood guy said the locust is ready to burn right away and the other should be fine in a couple weeks. Am I screwed? Do I find better wood from a different source that is truly seasoned and let this second load wait to next year? And just to mention, the guy charged only $175 per 1.5 cords (same price for each load).

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  2. gpcollen1

    gpcollen1 Minister of Fire

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    The fan will help a bit - and you will know just by smelling the garage - but will not 'dry' the oak. There is no way you will get that stuff seasoned but the fan will help.

    I would still considered trying to find seasoned wood and saving that wood for next year.
  3. Bigg_Redd

    Bigg_Redd Minister of Fire

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    Put a fan on it, leave a window or door open. If it's been down a year it'll dry a lot faster than fresh green.
  4. Wet1

    Wet1 Minister of Fire

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    I agree with CT. The fan will certainly help, but you'll also need to keep the air in your garage dry as well while you're pulling the moisture out of the wood. Between what its going to cost you in electricity and the limited success you'll have doing this, you're better off finding seasoned wood... or find another source of heat for the winter. You could also store wood in the same room as the stove, this tends to dry it out nicely, but I'm not real keen on doing this for a couple of reasons.


    Oak takes a very long time to dry. I won't burn it unless it's been split for a minimum of 18 months and prefer it to be closer to two or three years. Luckily, I have the reserve so I can let it sit.
  5. mayhem

    mayhem Minister of Fire

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    I put a fan on my stacks when they come in from the outdoors, you have to run it for a good half to full week, but it does make a difference. You need to make sure that you get the moisture out of the room though, otherwise you're not doing much to help the process.
  6. gerry100

    gerry100 Minister of Fire

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    Some if not all of the gains realized by drying the wood with a fan will be negated on your electric bill.

    Wood gives up moisture at a specifice rate until it reaches equilibrium with the surrounding air. The specific maximum rate veries with the density of the wood, more density+ slower drying.

    Basically you can only push this rate slightly. Time is the real answer.
  7. DAKSY

    DAKSY Patriot Guard Rider Staff Member

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    Get yourself a moisture-meter check the wetness of the wood.
    That way you'll know for sure what the moisture content is...
    If you can get it down to or near 20%, go ahead & burn it!
  8. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    Well if you need the wood it's certainly worth a try using the fan to speed up drying...resplitting into smaller splits will also help. That's a pretty good price on that wood btw.
  9. fishguy

    fishguy New Member

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    Well thanks for the ideas. The price was why I bought it, but it seems that I should have realized the price might have indicated that the wood wasn't truly seasoned. Oh well, I guess I have a start on next year's supply and will pay up for some wood that is good to go for this winter. I guess I under estimated the learning curve on wood and stove use. Thanks...happy holidays to all...
  10. stockdoct

    stockdoct New Member

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    Although its only 2 degrees F here in Illinois, its snowing and the reported humidity is 78%. Today would NOT be a good day to put a fan against your woodpile. But tomorrow might be a little drier, the humidity is supposed to be only 35-40%.

    It seems a fan might make a difference if you use it in a well-ventilated area (my garage door is often open), but you might want to pick what days you have the fan blowing --- a fan uses very little electricity, but if it does no good, its a waste, of course. Choose the low-humidity days.
  11. leaf4952

    leaf4952 Member

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    How the hell do you guys pay for the ELECTRICITY to run fans ? or dehumidifiers (talked about on other threads) ? Good God - I'm burning wood so I don't have to turn on electric baseboard heat. I also got my kids weaned down pretty good off of leaving things turned ON like computers & lights when they leave their rooms. And STILL my electric bill is $60 in August and $250 in February. The fans and dehumidifiers just dont justify it (in my mind) unless you are rich or have no other heating system ready to use. It makes more sense to let nature age your wood and scrounge for pallet wood or trade like suggested. In Pennsylvania PP&L;Electric Co. is becoming deregulated in 2010. They have told us we can expect our electric bills to almost double at that time ! They've even been offering "ahead-of-time" payment plans NOW - 2 yrs ahead ! I have plans allrightiee ! I plan to install a propane on-demand hot water heater. And in the kids rooms: programable thermostats with maybe a lock-out cover in my older teenager's room - because he thinks he's Adonis in a towel in his own sauna room ! We use cold water cycle to wash our clothes, take short showers and use paper plates (no dishwasher machine). We keep our Computer/TV/Gaming "clusters" on power bars we can turn them off with one switch to make it easier ! This is not my ideal way of living but it is how I have to run my household. I find planning ahead like a squirrel helps alot. Keeping the pressure on my wood guy to come through when he don't give it to me 4 cords all at once yet letting him know how much I appreciate it when he comes through. And scrounging even if I don't think I need it cause eventually I do need it ( till I got more than a few yrs under my belt).
    I admire the guys on this site who do plan ahead. When ya'll talk about 10 cord 2yr stacks I'm green with envey. (Green is the wrong word)
  12. Summertime

    Summertime New Member

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    I switched to a on demand lp water heater and saved at least $60 per month. WTG!!
  13. RedRanger

    RedRanger New Member

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    All of the above is good advice. Good tips.

    Best advice I can give you for the future--speed up your wood gathering, and try as best you can to get ahead of the game by at least 2 years.

    Do that-and you will never have to post this question again. ;-)
  14. awoodman

    awoodman Member

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    Build a solar wood dryer on a south-facing wall. Stack wood on pallets and cover in plastic and leave ends open for air circulation.
  15. Danno77

    Danno77 Minister of Fire

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    I had the initial thoughts of leaf when I read this. Expending electricity to dry wood to burn seems counter intuitive. best case is to put that wood aside and use for next year, get ahold of some drier wood if you can. if you can't and you need this wood to keep you warm, then do whatever it takes to make the wood most efficient. that includes drying it out with a fan, and maybe getting a dehumidifier if needed. As always, you can burn the wood, it will burn. it won't be as efficient, so you'll be throwing some of that money down the drain (or up the chimney) and you'll have to make sure you keep a good eye on your chimney.
  16. boogieman

    boogieman New Member

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    You guys must think I am nuts using a box fan to help circulate heat from my woodstove! Oh yeah, also have a small 10" fan set on the floor in the bedroom to push the cold air back through the doorway towards the wood stove.
  17. PeteD

    PeteD New Member

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    Fans are extremely cheap to run.

    The wattage will vary, of course, depending on the fan. But, say you have an 80-watt 12-inch fan. That is 0.08 kwh to run the fan for an hour. I pay about 14 cents per kilowatt-hour, or slightly over 1 penny an hour to run a fan that size. Pretty darn economical!

    In the summer, I run one (sometimes two) window AC units, and up to 3 fans to circulate the air around the house. The fans cost next to nothing to run and allow one to get away with less cooling for really cheap money.

    Pete
  18. johnsopi

    johnsopi Minister of Fire

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    I run a full size box fan in my bedroom because the house is to hot. Plus I've used a fan for so many year I can't sleep with out the white noise.
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