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How to Tell If Firewood Is Seasoned

Updated on August 14, 2019

Seasoned Firewood

Just because it looks good dose not mean it is seasoned
Just because it looks good dose not mean it is seasoned

Firewood That Is Seasoned

Firewood is considered seasoned when it has less then 25 % of moisture in it. A living tree has up to 65% moisture in it because it has tubes that start from the root and extend out onto the limbs end through out the tree. A tree needsvto be cut and spilt and to sit outside sun upon it and in place where air can circulate all around it. Trees cut down should be cut and spilt for firewood within two years after being cut down. Otherwise the tree will decompose and rot and become infested with bugs.

Moisture Meter

Ways To Tell If Firewood Is Seasoned

Here are some ways to tell if firewood is seasoned.

Use a Moisture Meter

A moisture meter is a little niffy tool that can be bought for as low as $20 at the hardware store. It measures the amount of moisture in firewood, Its easy to use and only takes a few minutes.

How to use the moisture meter

Take a piece of firewood and split it in half and then take the moisture meter prongs and penetrate the prongs of the meter in the wood. If it reads 25% or less the firewood is seasoned and burnable.

The Appearanc

Inspect the ends for cracks and splits. Most seasoned wood has a distinct grayish color to it.


Season firewood is light. Unseasoned is more dense and heavier due to the extra moisture it has in it compared to seasoned firewood.


Take two sticks or logs and bonk their ends together. If you hear a dull thud, the chances are pretty good that your wood is not seasoned. On the other hand, if you hear a ringing sound instead of a bonk, the chances are pretty good that your wood is seasoned.

Smell of The Wood

Freshly cut, green, unseasoned wood has a very strong aroma unlike season firewood which smell is not as strong.

Seasoned Firewood

Seasoned wood has the cellar moisture and sap dried out of it and is ready to burn but if it is left outside in the rain too long. It will not burn well and will need some time to dry out before it will be burnable. Just as though it was unseasoned However firewood that is seasoned and becomes wet dose dry out ten times faster then unseasoned firewood.

Dont use Unseason Firewood in your Chimmey

  • Unseasoned firewood can be hard to impossible to start because the high moisture content makes it too damp to burn.
  • The fire constantly goes out because it cant stay hot enough when burning.
  • The heat output is insufficient and alternative heat may have to be used.
  • Excess Moisture causes vapors when it evaporates it rises and causes creosote to builds up in the chimney which increases the chances of fires starting in your chimney.

Always make sure to have your chimney cleaned professional at least once a year

Tips on Buying Firewood.

  • It is always good to ask the supplier when buying firewood. How long has the firewood been cut and split from the logs and how long were the logs cut down living trees. The longer the better because it means less moisture is in the wood.. Unseasoned firewood or wood that is green has allot higher moisture content in it. Firewood that has not been seasoned long enough. Is hard to impossible to burn. So the longer it has sit the better of burning firewood it will become.

You always want to ask what size are the pieces of firewood. Firewood is usable cut from 14“ to 16“, 18“ being standard. The size you want or prefer will depend on the size of your fireplace or wood stove.

And third but not least what type of firewood do you want to burn in your fireplace or wood stove. Depending on where you live or what you want to spend will make your choice. Hardwoods such a s oak, maple or ash have a higher heat out put but also cost more. Softwood such as fir, cedar or pine are cheaper and easier to burn then the hardwoods but have less heat output. Depending on where you live, what you prefer and what you want to spend will make your choice.

Difference Between Seasoned and Unseasoned Firewood

Buying Firewood In, Winter Months

Buying Firewood at the Peak of the Season

Reasons why It is not a always good idea to buy firewood in the middle of winter

It’s winter and the peak of the firewood season. If you did not buy your firewood in the off season or earlier in the season and you are looking to buy firewood now. BUYER BEWARE! You are going to pay a lot if you want season and good quality firewood and what I mean by quality is wood that is not rotten or wet and seasoned enough to burn.

You might see ads especially on craigslist for firewood that claim their wood is seasoned dry and ready to burn for a low price compared to all the other ads you have seen but really why would someone sale quality seasoned wood for cheap during the peak of the season. BECAUSE CHANCES ARE IT IS NOT SEASONED. If it sounds too good to be true, then chances are it is.

Do not believe what your told only what you see.

When you are inquiring about firewood and they tell you the wood is seasoned, dry and free of moisture and bugs and has not been exposed to any rain. Don’t believe it until you check it out and see it for yourself.

Tips On Buying Firewood In The Winter

Tips on how not to get rip off when buying firewood, In the Peak of the season

  1. Don’t let them deliver it at night where you may not be able to see the quality of wood as well as you could in the day time. Insist they come in the day time and if they call and say they are running late it will be dark when they deliver the wood. Tell them you want the wood to be delivered in the day light and set up another day for delivery.
  2. Don’t buy firewood from someone you don’t know or has not been recommended to you by someone you know and trust.
  3. Use a moisture meter to measure the moisture content of the wood. A moisture meter is an inexpensive tool that you can buy for as low as $15. All you have to do is split the wood open and put the prongs to the meter ins the spilt and it will tell you the moisture content. Firewood with 25% or less moisture in it is considered seasoned and burnable wood. Anything above is not.
  4. Make sure when buying a cord, you are getting the full amount of firewood. A cord is 128 cubic feet. It measures four feet high by four feet wide by eight feet long (4 ft. x 4 ft. x 8 ft.) Most people who sale firewood charge extra to stack the wood but most will have the wood stacked in whatever they transport it in when delivering. Measure it before they start to unload. Ask ahead of time is the firewood going to be stacked in the vehicle you are bringing it in. Ask ahead of time for the wood not to be thrown in a pile on the truck or trailer they unload it from because you want to be able to measure it correctly and can’t when it is piled and not stacked.
  5. The Best chances of getting the best buy for your money and good quality seasoned wood. Is to buy it in bulk in the off season. This will save you a lot of money.

Unseasoned Firewood

Have you ever bought wood you thought was season to find it was still green?

See results

© 2016 Mary Guimont


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