It’s time to second guess your kneejerk response to needing firewood. Just now, you thought to yourself, I’m going to need some firewood soon. So, you went on Google and searched for “seasoned firewood for sale near me” to find the closest seller with the cheapest prices.
That’s what you usually do when firewood season comes around. But is it the best course of action?
Consider how the seasoned firewood you get performs. Does it take a long time to get the fire going? Do your eyes end up watering and lungs burning from all the smoke?
If you answered yes to either of those questions, you can do better.
In this post, we’ll explain why the seasoned firewood for sale in Woodstock, McHenry County and throughout the Chicagoland isn’t worth the cost. And we’ll make the case for a superior type of firewood, which you can get delivered right to your home.
Curious? Great! Keep reading to find out more.
The Problems with Seasoned Firewood
You’re probably wondering what’s so bad about seasoned firewood. People still use it all the time in their campfires, bonfires and indoor fireplaces, don’t they? Why’s it still so popular if it’s so horrible?
Those are good questions. And we can sum up the answer in one word: ignorance.
They say ignorance is bliss. But in the case of seasoned firewood, we’d say ignorance is resigning yourself to annoying firewood problems.
Most folks don’t realize they can avoid some of the worst things about using firewood. Struggling to start the fire and keep it going, getting smoke in your eyes, finding bugs in your wood—it doesn’t have to be this way!
But it is this way with seasoned wood. These issues directly result from the seasoning process. They occur because seasoning usually fails to get the wood dry enough and leaves it vulnerable to invasive pests.
Seasoned Firewood for Sale is Never Dry Enough
Here’s an experiment anyone can try. All you need is a moisture meter, which you can buy at your local hardware store. Take that moisture meter and go around sampling the seasoned wood you find at gas stations, farms and hardware stores throughout the Chicago suburbs.
You’ll start to notice a pattern rather quickly.
What you will find is the moisture meter will continuously display between 20-30% moisture. The number will never drop below 20%. We’d bet good money on that.
The reason we’re so confident is we understand the limits of the seasoning process. Leaving wood out to air dry can only get the moisture level so low. It doesn’t matter how long you leave it alone. It could be drying for years, and the moisture level will still not fall below 20%.
There are just too many variables that can impact the wood’s moisture level during that time. Rain, dampness, humidity—it all plays a factor in keeping that total north of 20%.
Excess Moisture Hurts Seasoned Wood’s Performance
But what’s so bad about a moisture level between 20-30%. That’s still pretty low, right?
While 20-30% is better than the 50-60% moisture the wood contains when it’s freshly cut, it’s still not dry enough for the wood to achieve peak performance.
The extra moisture in that 20-30% range negatively impacts how the wood burns. It makes it harder to light and more difficult to keep going.
Most alarmingly, the extra moisture can harm your health and the environment by producing excess smoke and emissions. The EPA recommends a moisture content below 20% to protect against inhaling dangerous amounts of smoke. Scientific studies also show burning wood that is too moist produces emissions that harm the environment.
And besides all that, who wants all that smoke in your eyes when you’re trying to enjoy a campfire anyway? Too much moisture is a buzzkill.
Fortunately, there’s a way to get the moisture level below 20% and eliminate these problems.
The Wood Can Contain Unwanted Insects, Mold and Fungus
Besides failing to get it dry enough, the seasoning process also leaves the wood vulnerable to infestation. We’re talking about pesky insects and gross mildew and fungi that take up residence in the wood as it sits idly by.
But what’s so bad about a few bugs and some green stuff on the wood? Sure, it doesn’t make good wood for indoor fires, but what if you just plan to use the wood outside?
We’ve got some bad news for you. Seasoned firewood with bugs in it can even create problems outdoors.
One classic example of this is the emerald ash borer. This type of insect frequently infests and kills ash trees throughout the country. Emerald ash borers can also take up residence in seasoned firewood and spread throughout a region as the firewood is transported from place to place.
For this reason, you will often hear people say to be very cautious about moving seasoned firewood or purchasing it in one region and bringing it to another. You never know what kind of damaging pests you might be bringing along with you!
Seasoned firewood companies may say their wood contains no insects or mold, but it’s nearly impossible to guarantee that the wood will stay pristine during the long seasoning process.
Fortunately, there’s a better process for drying the wood that not only keeps bugs and mold out but also actively kills any that are in the wood.
That magical process we’re talking about is called kiln drying.
Meet the Superior Option: Kiln-Dried Firewood
As we’ve seen, the traditional seasoning method of leaving wood out to dry is far too risky. So, the best way to improve the drying process is to eliminate all those risks. That’s exactly what firewood companies do when they create kiln-dried firewood!
Kiln drying is exactly what it sounds like. Instead of leaving wood out to dry for months on end, the freshly spit wood goes right into a massive kiln for two days.
What can two days in a kiln do which months of seasoning can’t? Two key things:
- It lowers the wood’s moisture content below the 20% threshold.
- It kills off any insects, mold or fungus hiding in the wood.
Let’s take a closer look at how kiln drying accomplishes these feats.
How Kiln Drying Solves the Moisture Problem
What’s the best thing about the inside of a kiln? It’s a controlled environment. The massive oven eliminates all variables that work against getting a piece of wood as dry as it should be.
Inside the kiln, all sources of moisture and humidity that could tamper with the drying process are gone. You know what’s left?
Pure, dry heat and a lot of it!
The kiln can get up over 200°F to get the wood down below the 20% moisture threshold in only 48 hours. The effectiveness of this process comes backed by scientific studies like this one.
The data clearly shows that kiln drying can accomplish in two days what seasoning cannot. It’s the most trustworthy way to produce wood in the ideal condition for burning.
The Drying Process Kills Off All Pests, Mold and Fungi
You can also trust kiln-dried firewood to be free of those invasive pests often found in seasoned wood. Not only does the kiln-drying process keep insects and mold from getting in, but it also actively eliminates any bugs or mildew the wood contains!
It does this through a process called heat sterilization. The super high temperatures in the kiln effectively burn away any insects, mold, pesticides and fungi present in the wood.
This process has been scientifically proven to eliminate pests like the emerald ash borer. It’s why the US government requires heat sterilization of ash wood before transporting it.
Why Kiln-Dried Firewood is Worth It
We know what you’re thinking. All this stuff about kiln-dried firewood sounds too good to be true. There must be a catch.
We’re not going to lie to you. There is a catch.
Kiln-dried firewood is usually more expensive than seasoned firewood. You may have expected this when you read about the fancy drying process.
These extra steps that go into improving the quality of the wood aren’t cheap. But here’s the thing: you get what you pay for.
If you just want some cheap wood that will burn okay and probably leave you teary-eyed and out of breath from all the smoke, save a few bucks and go with seasoned.
But if you’re looking to have more fun, go kiln-dried.
Struggling to light wood isn’t fun. Igniting the wood right away so that you can get back to spending time with the ones you love is.
Getting a face full of dirty smoke isn’t fun. Cooking delicious food over super-hot flames is.
Having to keep adding wood isn’t fun. Using less wood to make bigger flames is.
We could go on, but we think you get the point.
With kiln-dried firewood, you can worry less about the wood and focus more on letting the good times roll. We think that’s worth a few extra bucks, don’t you?
You can find out how to get the most out of this superior type of wood by reading our complete guide to kiln-dried firewood.
Try Some Kiln-Dried Firewood for Yourself
Wondering if kiln-dried firewood is all it’s cracked up to be? The only way to know for sure is to get some for yourself and strike a match! We’d be happy to help you with that.
At Lumberjacks, we’ve been the Chicago region’s number one source for premium kiln-dried firewood for over 30 years. You can order yours today for convenient delivery or pickup.
Please give us a call at 815-337-1451 to place your order!