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The Importance of a Firewood Moisture Meter

Posted on 15 March 2017

 

Whether you're getting warm and cozy indoors, lighting up a wood-burning stove, or want to start up the fire pit outside for entertaining, your wood needs to be just right for burning. A firewood moisture meter can take the guesswork out of trying to determine if your firewood is seasoned or not.

A moisture meter is an essential instrument used in many industries to detect moisture content in materials, this is the percentage of water in a given substance. This information can be used to determine if the material is ready for use, unexpectedly wet or dry. Wood and paper products are very sensitive to their moisture content.

Newly-cut logs can have a moisture content (MC) of 80% or more, depending on the species. Since wood shrinks, and can also split, twist or otherwise change shape as it dries, most wood is dried before being used. This is most often done using a kiln, but can also use the air drying method, however, this is a much slower process. Most air-dried materials usually can reach a minimum moisture content of 20%.

Firewood Moisture Meter

A firewood moisture meter is one of the most important stove tools for helping you ensure that you get the most out of your stove. Your firewood moisture meter can help you make sure that you are getting well seasoned wood. You will know if your wood is not very well seasoned when you notice your wood burning stove isn't giving out any heat,  and the window is getting tarred up. It doesn't just stop there, burning unseasoned wood will tar up your chimney (increasing the risk of a chimney fire) as well as reducing the life of your wood burning stove. 

Burning unseasoned wood is inefficient and results in high levels of particulates, which is bad for health. In terms of how much heat you get out of your wood stove, the moisture content of your firewood is probably the single most important thing to consider, which is why a firewood moisture checker is so important.

When wood has a high moisture content it's harder to get a fire started and often times goes out more easily. Once you do get it started, it wont give off as much heat as you're expecting from a cosy fire, which in turn results in more wood being used and therefor, costing you more money.

To take an accurate moisture reading with you're meter, you need to measure the moisture on the inside of your piece of firewood, the firewood will be drier on the outside where the wind and sun has got to it. If you can split your firewood down the middle this will give you the most accurate reading. Push the two pins on the end of your moisture meter into one of the freshly split faces of the wood. The moisture reading will appear on the screen as a percentage. This type of meter measures a smaller portion of the wood within the area between the two prongs, so you should test multiple areas of your wood, especially if you're using larger pieces of firewood.

Overall there are many advantages to having a moisture meter. They ensure you're getting the most out of your stove by reducing risks such as tarring up the chimney, which is caused by using wood with a high moisture content. This can also increase the risk of chimney fires. They also prevent unnecessary health risks, as burning unseasoned wood gives out high levels of particulates which can cause bad health.

Also without sufficiently dried wood, you will not achieve an optimum heat output from your stove, this may be rather costly as more wood will be used. Buy yourself a moisture meter today to not only prolong your stove/chimney life but, to enjoy it to the best of its abilities.

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