ASK A BUILDER
By CCHRC Staff
The “Ask a Builder” series is dedicated to answering some of the many questions Fairbanks residents have about building, energy and the many other parts of home life.
Q: Where can I get information on the moisture content of wood for burning in my stove?
Freshly cut wood can be very wet and can contain up to 80 percent moisture.
In terms of moisture for wood burning, 20 percent or less is ideal.
Fortunately, Fairbanks is a fairly dry climate, and if wood is cut in the spring, split, stacked and covered, it should be dry enough to burn by the fall.
However, do not cover a woodpile with tarps that drape over the sides.
Wood should be stored in a woodshed, or covered with a spare piece of plywood, roofing tin, or anything that will allow air to flow through the pile.
Also, stack the wood on pallets to avoid exposure to ground moisture.
The bottom line is, the drier the wood, the cleaner and more efficiently it will burn.
The more moisture in the wood, the less energy will come out of it as heat because the moisture has to be burned off as steam first.
Excessive moisture also creates problems with creosote.
Burning wood with a moisture content of 25 percent or higher the amount of pollution increases in the form of harmful particles exiting the chimney.
A moisture meter can identify how wet wood is.
Moisture meters are handheld devices with prongs that stick into the wood. They can be purchased locally or online and consumer models are relatively inexpensive.
Alaska HomeWise articles promote home awareness for the Cold Climate Housing Research Center (CCHRC). If you have a question, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.You can also call the CCHRC at (907) 457-3454.