The Sizzle.

  • Active since 1995, Hearth.com is THE place on the internet for free information and advice about wood stoves, pellet stoves and other energy saving equipment.

    We strive to provide opinions, articles, discussions and history related to Hearth Products and in a more general sense, energy issues.

    We promote the EFFICIENT, RESPONSIBLE, CLEAN and SAFE use of all fuels, whether renewable or fossil.

Investment Camper

New Member
Apr 12, 2022
21
Hampstead, MD
So my wood stove was installed last October. I started looking for wood and found a bunch of oak, apple and some cherry but mostly oak. My issue is that I split up maybe 10 different tree-types of various dryness. I hand split and stacked about 6 cords. I went through last winter with a good dry burn ( my chimney guy had to get a dead bird out of there, inspected, and said it was great, “fluffy ash”).
I burned again last night as the temps are dropping in Maryland, and heard the sizzle of a wet log. Everything is pretty mixed up in the pile and I’m not planning to moisture test everything. Once the fire is hot enough it burns everything. And I plan to have my chimney guy come out in the summer and clean. Just wondering, really, how important 20% is if it’s not dry yet. I should get ahead of the cycle by next year and be dry.

IMG_1122.jpeg IMG_0936.jpeg IMG_0931.jpeg
 
If the MC is just a little above 20% it's not a big deal, but if the wood is sizzling the MC could be over 30%. In that case, it's best to not burn it. A quick test is weight. There can be a pound or more difference in water weight if the piece is not seasoned. Also, bang two splits together. They should ring like a hardball hitting a bat. If they go thud, set them aside. If the damp wood can be brought inside for a few weeks, that may help dry out the pieces unless they are pushing >35% MC.

If the sizzlers are just a random split now and then, it may not be a big deal. If a lot of the wood is this damp then the flue should be cleaned after each cord burned. Creosote builds up quickly when burning damp wood and the two 90º elbow offset is not helping matters. What type pipe was used in the upper section? Is it galvanized?
 
So my wood stove was installed last October. I started looking for wood and found a bunch of oak, apple and some cherry but mostly oak. My issue is that I split up maybe 10 different tree-types of various dryness. I hand split and stacked about 6 cords. I went through last winter with a good dry burn ( my chimney guy had to get a dead bird out of there, inspected, and said it was great, “fluffy ash”).
I burned again last night as the temps are dropping in Maryland, and heard the sizzle of a wet log. Everything is pretty mixed up in the pile and I’m not planning to moisture test everything. Once the fire is hot enough it burns everything. And I plan to have my chimney guy come out in the summer and clean. Just wondering, really, how important 20% is if it’s not dry yet. I should get ahead of the cycle by next year and be dry.

View attachment 318695 View attachment 318696 View attachment 318697
Is that galvanized pipe? And is it upside down?
 
Well seasoned wood will sizzle if it has surface moisture. If the stacks are covered, the wood does not typically get wet with surface moisture (and takes far longer to season) while uncovered wood can get rained on and get externally wet. If you split it, and take a reading after its up to room temp for 24 hours the surface moisture should not impact the internal moisture reading. Folks who stage their wood at some intermediate point in the house after its been taken out of the woodpile will have less of an issue with externally wet wood as if its just wet on the outside, a dry house usually dries it out overnight.

So come up with a top covering method for the stacks and you should hearless sizzle. ideally you want air space on top of the pile rather than covering the top directly. Laying a pallet on top with a six inch overhang on all sides and then covering the top of the pallet will work. Or you can use my method, I use scrap wood but if you want it pretty use uniform wood.

top cover.JPG
 
Looks like HVAC ductwork. Hard 90s.
Yes, this doesn't look like a proper install. The galvanized duct and fittings are not permitted for woodstove use. I don't understand why black stove pipe wasn't used. To be really proper, it should have been done in double-wall stovepipe for this long run with 45º elbows for the offset.
 
it really does look like galvanized pipe, if so I have always s been told they will emit a toxic gas of some kind and should never be used in wood burning application.
I agree with Begreen with that run DOUBLE wall stove pipe should be used as the gases and smoke have already started cooling before it enters the chimney.

I can not believe that a truly certified installer/technician in his right mind would use galvanized pipe.
 
Regarding the wood see if foam/ water is coming out of the ends of the splits. My guess is a good portion of your wood is over 20%. If you have oak no way it’s ready now. Might want to mix in some redstone or biowood bricks. I did that last year my first season burning.
 
Green oak requires 2- 3 years of seasoning time after being split and stacked in a windy sunny area.
 
Did you cover your stacks? That is critical on the east coast at least. Wood can gain MC over the summer if not covered. And yeah no way your oak is ready yet.
 
Too each his own but with trees above some of my stacks I prefer to keep rain, leaves and bird droppings off my stacks. Leaves and moisture add to insects and rot. Also I only top cover with 6” overhang from my commercial tarps. Ends exposed for ventilation. Also a myth that the top pieces hold moisture. I did a test and no difference in MC from the top to the bottom. The top gets baked in the sun and still get plenty of airflow through the stack. I got 14% red oak this year so it works.
 
  • Like
Reactions: gthomas785
I live 10 miles away from the Atlantic ocean and don't top cover my wood over the summer and don't gain MC. Drys just fine, certainly not critical to cover.
Ok I won't argue about whether it's critical for everyone but my experience is that any rain on the wood pile really sets back the drying process. We had a lot of rain this summer and I was really glad for my woodshed
 
I have never visited any government or university web site regarding firewood and wood burning that recommended not to cover your firewood, on the contrary they all are clearly specific in recommending to cover the top of your stacked firewood, leaving the sides and ends opened for sustained drying and to stack your firewood as much as possible in areas exposed to wind and sun.

IMHO best to follow the science behind it and tested methods.
 
Seems to always be a big swing in drying times based off location and how it’s stacked, and what size the splits are. I can’t base my drying times off Fl or the PNW. I’d say if split in 4” splits, stacked dry, the OP could be good in a year or two for oak in MD. I can get oak in the upper teens/low20s in under a year in NC. MD isn’t that much different.

I would ditch the HVAC duct and point all male connections down though.
 
Dude u got to get rid of the galvanized. It is toxic for sure when burned. It is actually deadly if you breath enough of the fumes. No Joke.