You may have heard about kiln dried firewood before, or even used it one time, but you may wonder how different it is from conventional firewood?
Kiln-dried firewood costs a little more than its traditionally-seasoned counterpart, but along with that, price bumps are upsides like:
- burns readily and steadily
- hotter burning temperature
- low smoke
- mold, fungus, and bug-free
- requires less preparation
Let’s talk about each point in greater detail.
Kiln Dried Firewood- What is It?
Kiln drying is a process that takes out the water content in wood that have recently been harvested.
Traditionally-seasoned firewood or those that have been left to dry using the sun or air have a water content of around 25 to 30 percent. Kiln-dried firewood has a much lower range and thus make better material.
‘Green,’ or newly chopped wood, is placed in kilns and left to dry and season at a set temperature for a long time.
The term ‘seasoned’ means wood that’s dried to the point that it has lower than 30% water content. The wood is either left out in the open or sheds and is exposed to elements such as wind, sunlight, etc.
We know the significant difference in traditional and kiln-dried firewood is its moisture content, but how does that make it a better material for fire pits?
Kiln Dried Firewood Upsides
Kiln-dried wood is better in every which way, but for fire pit owners the material shines and touts the following advantages:
Needs Less Time
Traditional aired firewood may take somewhere between 6 to 18 months to be ready, but kiln dried firewood are suitable to burn as soon as it is processed.
Kiln-drying removes as much as 20 percent of water (or even lower), which is the optimal moment for fire pit burning.
More importantly, you won’t need to test the water content or see if it can catch fire like you would traditional seasoned firewood.
Burns Readily and Steadily
Sometimes it isn’t easy to light up conventionally-seasoned firewood and keep it burning primarily because of its water content. However, kiln-dried wood has much lower moisture levels, so you won’t have to go to great lengths to light up the wood and keep it burning.
Hickory, oak, and similar dense hardwoods may need more effort to start, but once they’re right, you can sit back and enjoy.
Kiln-dried firewood is excellent for outdoors, and during the winter season, when getting a fire started is a top priority. You definitely wouldn’t want to be caught trying one wood after another, especially if you have shivering guests or family members.
That said, a supply of ready fuel such as kiln-dried firewood will make your life easier.
Hotter Burning Temperature
All the energy in kiln-dried firewood is used for producing heat, not for residual moisture burn-offs.
The result is a more efficient fire that produces more heat. You’ll need less wood to feed the fire, and everyone around the fire will still be nicely warmed.
Firewood that has high water content won’t burn efficiently than that which has been seasoned in a kiln.
Kiln-dried firewood is perfect for those who have limited storage space. You’ll have a stash of ready-to-burn wood that has a higher burning temperature and efficiency.
The adage ‘where there’s smoke, there’s fire’ doesn’t ring true with kiln-dried wood. On the other hand, wood with high water content tends to produce so much smoke that it ruins the firepit experience.
A well-seasoned dry hardwood is perfect for when you need a smoke-free atmosphere. You avoid complaints from neighbors and get to enjoy the night sky with an unimpeded view.
Mold, Fungus, and Bug-Free
Last but not least, kiln drying removes mold, fungus, and insects from the wood.
This factor is essential if you intend to keep your firewood inside the house or the garage.
The Department of Agriculture recommends using kiln-dried firewood as it stops invasive insects, including the emerald ash borer from spreading further. It is important to us that we prevent the spread of insects in homes.
How Does Kiln Drying Process Work?
The beauty of kiln drying is that it doesn’t rely on season or weather. Traditionally seasoned firewood must wait for favorable weather to obtain good results.
Here’s a short guide on how it works:
‘Green’ wood or fresh cut material are divided into 12 or 24-inch lengths. Afterward, the pieces are put inside a firewood kiln. Temperature is set anywhere between 200 to 250 degrees F and kept for 48-72 hours.
The firewood is taken out of the kiln and measured for water content. The material will have lost more than 50 percent of its original weight. Plus, any unwanted compounds such as mold, fungus, and insects are removed.
Kiln-dried wood will have reached optimal moisture levels at set temperatures before being sold and delivered to fire pit users. From there, they are ready to use anytime.
Is Kiln Dried Firewood Better Than Conventional Seasoned Firewood?
For fire pit use, there’s nothing better than kiln-dried firewood.
It produces zero smoke, is easy to start, burns evenly and efficiently, and is free of mold, fungi, and insects. What’s not to like?
Granted, kiln-dried wood is a bit more expensive than conventional firewood, but the advantages far outweigh the costs.
Firepit users who want to enjoy and make the most of their firepit experiences should opt for kiln dried firewood. If you haven’t tried it before, we recommend getting a sample, e.g., a half or third cord of the material, and using it the next time you use your firepit.
We think you’ll love it so much that you will replace traditional seasoned wood with kiln-dried!