When you are looking to purchase logs to fuel your wood burner, there should be a single priority in your mind: low moisture content. The optimum moisture content for economical wood burning is <20%. The most common choices at your disposal that meet this need are seasoned logs and kiln dried logs. Read on to learn the pros and cons of both, and why our kiln dried logs in nets are the eco-friendly log burning solution.

Why does firewood need to be dry?

In order to burn efficiently, wood needs to be as dry as possible. Otherwise, a portion of the heat in your burner is wasted on evaporating water from the logs. This results in lower overall heat output and a greater concentration of condensates in your chimney. Incidentally, condensates are the most common cause of chimney fires. When you are looking at firewood, you must take care to ensure the logs you are looking at have been properly dried. With a low moisture content, your wood will burn well and produce little smoke. It will also yield more heat for your home and reduce blackening of the glass on your stone door. Did you know that fresh cut, green wood can have a moisture content of more than 50%? This will not burn efficiently - as previously stated, you want the moisture content to be below 20% for the perfect burn.

Why is it less eco-friendly to burn wet firewood?

Remember that wood is an organic material that comes from a living thing. This means it is filled with nutrients and water whilst it is functioning as part of a living tree. The wood from a newly-cut tree will not ignite well.
If you try to use green wood in your log burner, you may damage the flu of the unit. If you manage to light it, the flame will give off a lot of smoke and pollutants, and the heat output will be minimal. This means you will need to burn more of it to sustain the flame - the net result is excessive harm to the environment, which should be avoided at all costs.

Kiln-dried logs vs seasoned firewood

So how exactly are logs properly dried to be efficient fuel? Our kiln dried logs, net-wrapped, are one of the most popular options, but another choice is to go for seasoned wood. Let's compare the two:

What are kiln dried logs?

Kiln drying is a process by which the wood is force-dried in a commercial kiln. It takes between 4 and 6 days, depending on the efficiency of the kiln, and is typically done at a temperature around 70°C. The process is started by stacking pre-cut green wood into metal cages and placing them inside the kiln. A commercial kiln is like a giant oven with a huge fan to circulate the air. There are various sizes and functions of these kilns, but most are able to process enormous quantities of wood at a time (sometimes as much as 100 pallets!). The heat drives moisture out of the wood through the flow of the air and complex processes that force moisture out of the wood. Whether you choose kiln dried oak logs in nets or any other type of wood, they are guaranteed to perform well. They are thoroughly dry, so will light swiftly, burn efficiently and yield a very high heat output. The clean burn will not stain the glass on a stove or cause excessive soot build-up inside the flue. Kiln-dried logs are still perfectly natural, they simply have a lower moisture content for a clean, hot and efficient burn.
Pros:
    • The logs are instantly ready to burn
 
    • Dryer wood means a clean burn and high heat output
 
    • Kiln dried logs can be produced on-demand, so there is less need to store large quantities
 
    • There is no shortage of kiln dried logs
 
Cons:
    • Delivery is on pallets so properties require access for a large truck
 
    • The cost is higher than other log types
   

What is seasoned wood?

Seasoned wood is firewood that has been left to dry out naturally. In order for seasoning to happen well, the logs need to be split shortly after cutting and dried 'ends out'. Splitting wood into smaller pieces means the surface area is increased and the logs can dry out more effectively.
Whilst drying, the logs are stored under a cover with maximum air-flow to facilitate the drying process. Softer woods tend to dry out more quickly - usually in 12-18 months - while dense hardwood usually takes 18-24 months to be ready to burn.
Pros:
    • You can cut and dry wood yourself
 
    • If well-seasoned, the logs can achieve a heat output almost as good as kiln dried logs
 
Cons:
    • Wood seasoning takes a long time (1-2+ years)
 
    • To season green wood yourself, you need space to store and dry it
 
    • Seasoned wood only dried down to ~25% moisture naturally - a lower moisture content requires open air drying in summer
 
    • Supply of seasoned wood is usually more limited
   

Which is the better choice

Our kiln dried logs in nets are consistently dried right through, while air-dried logs will have different moisture levels. This means the kiln-dried option is guaranteed to burn well and be consistently dry. The cost is a little higher, but you will be able to light them quickly and produce up to 30% more heat per kilogram, so the benefits will be more economical. Additionally, kiln-dried firewood will not contain any insects or mould. Those creepy crawlies are likely to make their presence known when bringing the logs inside and setting up a fire. Moreover, kiln dried logs are ready all year round. If you have left it a bit late to stock up, there will be reliable kiln dried logs available. Overall, the advantages of kiln dried logs far outweigh the benefits of seasoned ones. We are confident our kiln-dried ash logs in nets are a more economical and eco-friendly choice than firewood prepared in any other way. They burn efficiently, with high heat output and give off minimal pollutants - the perfect way to get maximum bang for your buck.