Are Your Logs Dry Enough?

The advisory moisture content of wood-fuel has recently been reduced from 25% to 20% as a result of concerns with emissions from log-burning stoves. There has also been pressure on the log stove manufacturers to improve the efficiency of stoves themselves. The two issues go hand-in-hand – as more efficient stoves and drier wood-fuel mean much more effective heating, less smoke and reduced particulate emissions.

We have just finishing preparing our boiler fuel for the winter after next and the one beyond. The softwood we have used does not need that long to dry, but we had the timber, so we decided to prepare it properly and get into the right sort of storage so the moisture content will be down to 16% - 17% by the time we need to use it.

Boiler Log Shed for Wood

Of the store itself, it has two key characteristics – a roof to keep the rain off (in this case with a good overhang at the front) and plenty of ventilation from the open front through to the open-sided barn behind.

The logs themselves and are cut to length – our boiler take 50cm logs – and split down their length. Logs left unsplit do not dry properly, so we split everything, even the small round sticks. Some logs needed splitting more than once so the individual logs end up being the right size to put straight into the boiler when the time comes.

Low cost moisture meter for wood

For day-to-day use, we use the very simple moisture meter shown in the second picture. I have just looked this up on line and it is available for around £8. To get a meaningful reading, we cut a sample dry log in half and set the measuring prongs across the tree rings on the freshly-cut face as shown in the third picture.

User moisture meter on wood for our log stores

The store in the first picture holds about 8 tonnes of freshly felled logs and will lose 35% of their weight in water before they are dry enough to use. Is your log store strong enough to take that sort of weight?

If you buy logs unseasoned, you need a well-ventilated log store to enable them to dry out. If you buy fully-seasoned logs, you will still need a well-ventilated log store to keep them dry. Either way, an inexpensive moisture meter will help you check that the logs are dry enough when you come to use them.

To find a suitable log store for you, look at our custom log stores or our classic log stores

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