Choosing the Right Firewood

Whether you’re looking to heat your home by burning wood in a cozy wood stove, or you’re going camping and need to burn wood to stay warm and cook your food, then it’s important that you pick the right kind of firewood and where to buy firewood from.

Drier Wood is Better

Heat is generated from combustion of your firewood and different types of wood burn differently. Not all types of wood burn well. Wet, unseasoned wood is particularly bad, because the energy of the fire is converted into steam and lost.

Seasoned firewood is dried and then cut into small pieces so it burns much more effectively.

Here are a few ways that you can identify the really good dry wood that’ll burn well:

The wood should generally be darker in color as this means it’s older, and thus is probably a lot drier. Fresh wood has a much higher chance of still containing a lot of moisture in the small tubes of the wood.
Wood that is light in color has a strong chance of being free from moisture. Since water is quite heavy, if the wood is full of moisture then it’ll be a lot heavier than dry wood.
Cracked ends on the wood are another sign that it’s very dry.

Finding Good Dry Firewood In the Outdoors

In general it’s going to take months for wood to dry out, unless you happen to live in an area that has very little rain and is warm year round. If you don’t need to burn the wood any time soon then the best plan is to forage for wood in the spring/summer, and let it dry out slowly so that it’s ready for the winter.
However, if you need to burn the wood on the same day then look for the low hanging, dead branches. They have a much better chance of being dry, since you’ll find some branches that have been dead for quite a while, they won’t be taking moisture from the ground through the roots and they’re also shielded from rain since they’re low branches.
Branches that have fallen to the ground can be used, but they’re more likely to contain moisture. You’ll be able to tell how dry the branches are by how easily they snap. The really dry ones will be quite brittle and will snap easily.