What Are the Problems of Burning Wet Wood?
There’s nothing quite like the sight, sound or smell of a real log fire.
If they’re available, recently sourced wood from a local forest or untreated wood that can be bought cheaper than seasoned or kiln-dried alternatives can be very tempting. However, it is essential that when you do burn wood that it is as dry as possible, because burning wet wood can cause a number of serious issues – to your flue, your chimney, your appliance, the environment, and even to your health and home.
Incidentally, wood is deemed ‘wet’ or ‘green’ when it has a moisture content of over 40%. Seasoned wood may have a moisture content of around 30%, while kiln dried logs will have a moisture content of less than 20%.
This month, the team at KG Smith & Son is taking a close look at some of the problems and dangers associated with burning wet wood.
Wet wood gives off much more smoke than dry wood – as much as three or four times as much as you get from burning kiln-dried logs. This smoke contains pollutants and other by-products that can have a negative effect on the environment. If you’re going to be burning any solid fuel, when it comes to the environment it’s always a case of the less smoke the better, so you should be using smoke-free fuel, whether that’s wood or coal.
Chimney blockages & fires
When you burn wet wood, the combination of condensation, gas and particles that are released can create creosote as they cool. This then hardens to form a tar that attaches itself to the sides of your chimney. Over time, enough may gather that it could start to cause blockages. Even worse, the creosote is flammable, so there could also be a real risk of a damaging fire in your chimney.
We’ve already mentioned the condensation that you get from burning wet wood. As well as contributing to the creation of that damaging creosote, it can also cause corrosion in the metal inner liner of your chimney. That will lead to more rapid deterioration in its structural integrity and can lead to a potentially expensive replacement being needed.
Another side effect of those pollutants and byproducts that get released when you burn wet wood is the potential for serious damage to your health. There are a number of issues surrounding prolonged exposure to creosote, which include skin irritation and even cancer. Breathing in the smoke could also cause a variety of respiratory issues.
When firewood has a high moisture content, you’ll be getting less heat than you would from properly seasoned or dried wood. So you’ll be topping up more often and getting less benefit as a result. There’s a reason that wet wood is usually cheaper, and in the end it’s certain to be a false economy.
For the very best seasoned and kiln dried wood briquettes that will give you a reliably clean burn every time, why not give the team at KG Smith & Son a call? They’re just part of the wide range of smoke-free fuels available for fast delivery to wherever you are in the UK, including Northampton, Cambridge and London.