Seasoned firewood is wood that has gone through the lengthy drying out process in order for it to be used in fires without causing any major issues.
Firewood should be covered during the seasoning process to help keep the rain and snow off it until it has fully dried out to recommended moisture levels.
Once wood has properly seasoned, does it matter whether rain gets on seasoned firewood?
Seasoned firewood should be stored out of the rain to help prolong how well it keeps for. If seasoned firewood gets rained on it can dry out within a few days, but constant contact with moisture will lead to the wood going bad.
Read on to find out more about how rain affects seasoned firewood and what you should be doing to ensure that your firewood stays dry and moisture free for as long as possible.
Rain On Seasoned Firewood
The aim of the seasoning process for firewood is to bring the moisture content down to a level that doesn’t cause it to burn inefficiently when used on a fire.
The recommended moisture content range for firewood is between 15% and 20%, as stated by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Freshly cut ‘green’ wood can be much higher than 20% moisture content and so it must be dried out for an extended period of time to help bring down the moisture level of the wood.
During the seasoning process it’s important to help keep the rain off the wood.
Constant contact with moisture can delay how long the seasoning process takes, and may cause the wood start rotting rather than dry out. In order to keep wood dry during the seasoning process it should be stacked under a form of cover, such as a roof or a sheet.
We season our firewood stacked up against the back of our garage. An overhang from the garage helps to keep the majority of the rain and snow off the wood while it dries out.
We also leave the majority of the wood located under this cover once it has fully seasoned to help keep the rain off the wood while it’s in storage. This helps to keep the firewood dry until it’s burnt in our wood stove.
The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) states that the ideal place to store your seasoned firewood is in a wood shed.
We also move some our logs to our wood shed once it has been seasoned, which helps to keep the rain and snow off the wood as well as allowing the air to circulate to help keep the wood dry.
The key to both properly seasoning wood and ensuring that firewood stays dry is keeping the wood moisture free.
‘Even well seasoned firewood can be ruined by bad storage. Exposed to constant rain or covered in snow, wood will reabsorb large amounts of water, making it unfit to burn and causing it to rot before it can be used.’CSIA
Any firewood should therefore be also kept off any moist ground or placed on a dry platform, so that any rain can runoff into the adjacent ground rather than seeping back up into the wood.
We season our wood on a concrete platform and our wood shed is raised to keep the logs off the ground.
How Do You Dry Firewood After Rain?
If the wood is already fully seasoned then stacking the wet wood back in the right dry conditions is the best way to dry it out.
In order to help dry out your firewood you should ensure that you’re storing your wood:
- On a dry platform or raised off any moist ground.
- With a sufficient cover over the stack.
- Open on at least one side of the stack to allow air to circulate and for the wind and sun to help keep the wood dry.
The key is to keep the firewood dry once it has been made wet due to rain. If the firewood has been subject to constant rain then it can start to go bad and won’t be as effective when used as firewood.
You can also bring any wet seasoned firewood inside, which can help it to dry quicker.
How Long Does It Take Wet Seasoned Wood To Dry?
It can take freshly cut ‘green’ wood to naturally dry out at least 6 months if the wood has a low starting moisture content and its stacked in the correct environment, If not, wood can take up to two years to season.
You can read more about how long it takes firewood to season in another one of our articles here.
If seasoned firewood has been exposed to the rain, it can take a couple of days to a week for the firewood to completely dry out again.
Ultimately, the time it takes for wet seasoned wood to dry out can be dictated by:
- How long the firewood has been exposed without a cover.
- How often it has rained.
- The current weather conditions.
Warm and windy weather will dry out wet seasoned firewood much quicker than if the weather conditions are rainy with no wind.
For firewood that has been exposed longer to the rain, it can take more time to dry out because moisture may have seeped further in the log.
In order for wet seasoned firewood to dry out again it must be placed somewhere that prevents the wood from being in regular and prolonged contact with moisture.
If your fully seasoned firewood and is stored outside without any sufficient cover or placed on moist ground, the wood will start to go bad and rot over time.
It’s therefore important that any seasoned firewood is kept dry, and if the wood has been rained on it should be moved to a dry location as soon as possible. Doing so will help to prevent seasoned firewood from going bad and will allow any wet seasoned firewood to dry out as fast as possible.
You can use a moisture meter to accurately identify when your wet seasoned firewood has dried out.
A moisture meter is an essential tool that gives you a reading of the moisture content of wood. The recommended moisture content for firewood is below 20%, and so if you can’t tell whether your logs have seasoned or dried out you can use a moisture meter to ensure that you’re only burning wood that is dry enough.
Does Rain Help Season Firewood?
No, rain does not help to season firewood. The seasoning process helps to reduce the moisture content of wood so that it can burn effectively when used as firewood.
In order for firewood to dry out quickly and efficiently, the wood must be kept dry and away from any moisture. If a stack of wood is kept in regular contact with moisture then it will start to go bad rather than dry out.
Does Firewood Need To Be Split To Season?
How Long Firewood Should Be Seasoned For
How To Tell If Firewood Is Seasoned (What It Looks Like)
Does Firewood Dry In The Winter?
How To Use A Moisture Meter To Check Firewood Moisture Content