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What is the Ideal Moisture Percentage to burn wood

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by katwillny, Jan 1, 2012.

  1. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    I only use mine to post results on here.:)

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  2. Ram 1500 with an axe...

    Ram 1500 with an axe... Minister of Fire

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    Me being a rookie an just accumulating wood this spring, I just got my $30 general yesterday, I split a round of red oak, it was at 45, I then split a split that's been split for a week. That came out at 29, I have maple and black locust that I split in march and April both reading 17 and 18. I also split a skinny piece of honey locust, I couldn't believe it was 26. So I should be fine with the maple and black locust?
  3. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    Ideally, anything below 20% is very good for the stove.....that said, I've burned wood that was in the low 20's with no problem, too.....
    I don't own a MM, all of my wood seasons 3 years and I don't have any problems with it that way. Before, though, I burned moister wood and cleaned the chimney a lot more frequently because of that.
    Paulywalnut likes this.
  4. Ram 1500 with an axe...

    Ram 1500 with an axe... Minister of Fire

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    Great, thank you all very much for the input, I'm feeling better for the upcoming season..
  5. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

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    I "liked" your post but not sure that something at 18% would result in decreased heat output, it might just burn a bit slower so that the heat isn't released as fast up front. And I don't have to open the air up that wide on the low 20s stuff, but it might hiss a bit at the start....
    That Oak will really slow down once you hit the upper 20s, and won't burn well for a long time. The Maple and Locust at 18% is good. Hopefully that wasn't just a couple of splits that were drier than the rest. But it sounds like you'll probably get by OK, though.
  6. blades

    blades Minister of Fire

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    There is always room for numbers up and down the scale and of course a hf meter is not what one would call a piece of high end equipment, I do not know if it could be recalibrated or not but it gets me where I need to go. I have some pieces of furniture (Oak, Maple) that I keep in the shop as a test reference.
  7. brakatak

    brakatak Member

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    I just got the General MM today.. are you drilling small holes into the splits and stick the MM pointers in the hole? When I do that I get 40% on my freshly split oaks. When I just put the MM pointers against the split side I get about 20%. Big difference when I drill holes and stick the pointers in. Just wondering what is correct method to use?
  8. Ram 1500 with an axe...

    Ram 1500 with an axe... Minister of Fire

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    I stick mine in so the meter can stand straight up without touching it. I never thought of drilling holes, lets see what others do
  9. HDRock

    HDRock Minister of Fire

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    When U check a split for moisture, U must split the piece first, and check it right then N there ,check it smack in the middle , if U split it and wait till the next day U will not get an accurate reading what the MC, (moisture content) is inside the piece.
    Ram 1500 with an axe... and pen like this.
  10. Ram 1500 with an axe...

    Ram 1500 with an axe... Minister of Fire

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    To brakatak and all,
    I just read the directions. It says to drill the holes to get a more accurate reading so that the tips touch inside. But that doesn't take into consideration that you are splitting the split just before you take the reading. Therefore it is the tips that are reading the MC, not the entire spike. It clearly says not to use force when trying to take a reading.
    So the correct method is what HDRock said to do.....
    But thanks for making me read the directions, so I know I am doing it right.....:)
  11. brakatak

    brakatak Member

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    Good to know... thanks for reading the directions and sharing. i'll try that method tomorrow.
  12. Ram 1500 with an axe...

    Ram 1500 with an axe... Minister of Fire

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    Thanks I will be testing more in the upcoming future...
  13. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    I just push the pointed pins in hard, no need to drill holes with the HF unit.
  14. HDRock

    HDRock Minister of Fire

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    I push in hard to, with the HF unit, and I have used it a lot , nothing has broken
  15. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    I have noticed a difference of a couple % between pushing in moderately hard and very hard (1/8" to 1/4"), but sometimes it made no difference at all.

    I'm in the "get a meter" camp. Anything else is guesswork. Wood with 30% MC has 50% more water than wood with 20% MC and that makes a big difference.
    Trilifter7 likes this.
  16. Paulywalnut

    Paulywalnut Minister of Fire

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    I use my MM on scrounged wood that I just split to see where I am starting from. I just let it season 3 years
    like others have said previously.
  17. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    I push it in hard too, oh wait wrong forum... sorry :oops:

    But seroiusly, its like a cheap tire pressure guage, gotta take a bunch of readings and take an average.
    In the end, if its 3 years old it will be just fine.

    However in a Wood Gun gasifier things are a bit different. They actually recommend 25-30%
    If its too dry (20% and below it can start puffing.
    Thats where there isn't enough 02 to burn well and so it gets starved and then can suck more air into the firebox.
    Kinda like when you take a plastic gallon jug of water and dump it out, you get that chugging thing going on.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  18. Ram 1500 with an axe...

    Ram 1500 with an axe... Minister of Fire

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    Being ahead 3 years and those that are not is what separates those that should use a moisture meter.... And by the way, I just heard a commercial that said " why don't you pick on your own size" too funny but true, you guys are seasoned, we are trying to get seasoned......does that make any sense?
    Trilifter7 likes this.
  19. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    I wish I was three years ahead.
    I only started burning full time 2 winters ago.
    The wood I'll be burning this winter will only be just under 2 years old.
    NOW, I do have enough drying that will get into the 3 year dry bracket in about 2 more years.
    Then I'll be coasting real fine.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  20. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    Don't forget that drying time depends on factors like species, climate, covered or not, etc. Last season I burned 20-25%alder that was less than a year old. But I also have some big leaf maple that is still 35% after more than a year. I don't know if I'll ever burn that stuff;hm. Oak is notoriously slow, as are others. Splitting small can make a huge difference.
  21. Ram 1500 with an axe...

    Ram 1500 with an axe... Minister of Fire

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    Sprinter, you better get with the program and get some 17% stuff.....
  22. Ram 1500 with an axe...

    Ram 1500 with an axe... Minister of Fire

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    Sprinter, if you pay for the shipping, i will send you some maple and black locust....
  23. MrWhoopee

    MrWhoopee Minister of Fire

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    As the MC goes up, more of the heat is used to boil water, which then goes up the stack. This results in less heat output from the stove. If you want heat, use dry wood. If you want to boil water, use a tea kettle.
  24. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    But his point was that 18% is in the prime range for firewood and not enough moisture to be an issue.
  25. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

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    Most stove manufacturers who actually put the info in their manual, suggest 20% or less. Having typed that, they also say that you should "season" wood for 6-12 months before burning. That's fine for some wood and areas of the country, but won't work for anything but soft hardwoods, and Pine around here.
    When I started, the wood was really wet and didn't burn well...no MM needed to tell me.
    The wood has gotten drier and burned better because I got ahead a little more each successive year.
    Strive for that and be happy.
    Pine, Poplar, Spruce, and others will dry well enough to burn in 6 months (longer is gooder), soft Maple, Ash take a year or more, Oak.......well, Oak is in it's own category.
    No experience with BL, Hickory, or others.
    I had nothing but Oak at first. If I'd known better (I didn't), I'd have gotten a bunch of Ash for the 2nd year.
    The 1st couple years are the toughest. If you can learn early that wet doesn't burn, you've come a long way, baby.

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