Does Firewood Dry in Winter, If at All?

Imagine this – you’re falling behind the firewood prep this season, so instead of cutting some in the spring (as it should be), you do so late in the fall.

Can you get it dry enough to be burned the upcoming spring? Will those chilly winter days get the job done, compared to the heat? Well…

Yes it does, but slower

Wood does indeed dry even in the coldest of temperatures, it’s just that it is going to be far more slower…

The reason why i believe that is entirely true, just like many other wood burners, is because, well, it is colder.

Not only that, the amount of sun exposure the wood can receive in that period of time is significantly reduced as well. And direct sunlight, let me tell you, is a big part of the seasoning process.

So to answer the question i brung upon in the introduction, no, the firewood won’t season as good in winter, when compared to the spring-summer cycle.

I feel it’s the hot summer months is what really dries up the wood; expecting that the same results can be achieved during 6 months of fall through winter months is just not going to cut it.

And i know folks will bring the example of line drying clothes, and how it works just as well, if not better, in winter! But split wood is an entirely different thing…

It is so much more dense; at the end of the day, it is more or less a part of a living thing, still containing much of the moisture. I don’t think that just the cold air and wind will get it dry enough for burning, in the same amount of time.

How to do it right

Even though firewood does get drier even during the winter months, you still have to do things the right way to be sure it’s consistent.

By that i mean making sure you stack the wood correctly.

Considering that the sun is out quite a bit more rarely during this season, maximizing the exposure the wood gets becomes very important.

Normally, the south side of a property gets the most sun during the day, so building the wood stacks in those areas is the only logical thing to do.

When i talk about stacks, i really do mean it. If you just pile the firewood and expect it to get any more dry than that in that period of time, forget it. You actually have to take your time and build those proper stacks to make things work here; we need that air to be able to get through every piece.

You must not forget about precipitation, either. Cover the tops of the rows with anything from metal roofing, tarp or boards – the goal here is to reduce the amount of moisture the already drying wood gets.

In conclusion

If you want to get the firewood prep started earlier than spring, sure do begin even in the beginning of January if you want, as that additional time until the coming burning season is only going to get the firewood more dry.

My whole goal about writing this blog post is to simply prove, once again to those curious, that you can’t cut corners when it comes to the firewood life. Things have to be done in timely manner, and if you got late to get it cut, split and stacked in spring, you have a problem to deal with.

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    1. I actually heard of folks doing the exact same thing many times, and the general consensus is that it’s certainly better to have a fan blowing on your firewood than not, if you want to speed up the drying.

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