What is the Difference Between Seasoned and Green Firewood?
Green wood is wood that has been fresh cut from a live tree and is still full of sap, which is mostly water. Seasoned wood is wood that has been cut and then left to cure so the sap evaporates out of the wood. Green firewood can be very difficult to burn and does not produce as much heat as seasoned wood. Much of the heat will be used up in boiling the water out of the wood and the heat will go out your chimney as steam instead of heating your home. If you put a green log on the fire you will soon see and hear steam shooting out of both ends. Burning green wood also creates much more smoke and can increase creosote buildup in your flue (chimney).
It can take from 6 months to a year for firewood to fully season. The time depends on several conditions such as size of the wood climate and how it is stored. Smaller pieces will dry faster than larger pieces and wood that is split will dry faster than unsplit rounds. Wood in a sunny well ventilated dry location will dry faster than wood that is shaded or unventilated or in a damp area.
There are advantages to buying green firewood as long as you buy it several months in advance to allow it to dry before you plan to burn it. Green firewood usually costs less and is usually more available than seasoned. If you stock up ahead of time you can be assured that it will be seasoned because you seasoned it yourself. This way you are not depending on someone else to bring you wood when you need it that may or may not be seasoned. Also seasoned wood may not be readily available when you need it. When the weather gets cold that’s when most people start buying and dealers may be busy and sometimes their supplies can run out. As long as you buy green firewood early in the summer and follow the tips in the firewood storage section it should be plenty dry for the next winter.