How to tell if your logs are seasoned

An open wood fire is one of the most wonderful things to have in the home – there’s nothing quite like the sight, sound and smell of an open fire. However, it is essential that the wood you’re using should be thoroughly dried first, ideally to a moisture content of less than 20%. 

Not only will damp wood not burn as well as dried wood, it’s also likely to produce a lot of unpleasant smoke. And it won’t do your chimney or flue any good either, because it will also cause thick tar and acidic residues to accumulate in the chimney, a major cause of chimney fires.

Basically, there are two ways of drying out new logs so that they’re ready for burning: seasoning and in a kiln. So let’s start with the basics.

What are seasoned logs?

Seasoning has nothing to do with adding salt and pepper, it just means that the logs are left to dry naturally. This is likely to take some time, depending on the size of the logs, where you stack them and how wet they were to start with.

When we say ‘some time’, this could be in excess of twelve months to make sure the logs are dry enough to be safely burned. 

How can you tell if your logs are seasoned?

It’s not easy to tell seasoned from kiln-dried logs – the main difference is going to be a relatively minor difference in the moisture content. However, telling seasoned logs from logs that still contain too much moisture is more straightforward. Here are the main signs:

  • They’ll be lighter
  • The bark is likely to be looser
  • They smell ‘woodier’
  • They make a hollow sound when you bang two together
  • They have a duller, less vibrant colour to them

Which is better – seasoned or kiln-dried logs?

There is something that makes you feel good about using logs that have prepared naturally, and you’re probably going to have to pay a bit more for kiln-dried logs, which is fair enough – after all, there will have been extra expenses for the producer to prepare them.

But there are significant advantages to using kiln-dried logs, the main one being that they burn hotter and longer than seasoned logs. This is because they’re going to have a much lower moisture content, no matter how long you’ve left your logs to dry naturally. That means in turn that you’ll be using fewer logs to heat your home, so that extra cost will be quickly made up if you’re using logs as a source of warmth on a regular basis.

Of course, if an open fire is just a rare treat on particularly cold – or romantic – evenings, then you may well get better value buying seasoned logs.

Here at KG Smith & Son (Coal Merchants UK), we have bulk bag kiln-dried logs for sale that will not only offer superb value, but also provide the ideal fuel for your home fire. Our range includes:

  • Ash – almost the perfect firewood, producing fantastic heat and a bright flame
  • Oak – dense, making it a slow burner with lots of heat
  • Beech – good heat and flame, but with a slight tendency to spark

Our logs are available for free delivery to Northampton, Cambridge, London and right across the UK, with next day and emergency deliveries also available. Call us today to find out more and to place your order.



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