After months of seasoning the last thing you want to see is your firewood get rained on. You’re probably kicking yourself and asking why didn’t I take the time to put a cover on top of my wood. All that water soaking in must be extending its seasoning time, but how big of a deal is a little bit of rain? How long does it take firewood to dry after raining?
Seasoned firewood should be stored out of the rain, but a little bit of rain won’t hurt it if left uncovered. If your wood gets rained on it should dry out within 2-3 days of sunshine. The hot summer sun and a cool breeze quickly dries out a l little bit of rain. If your wood is completely soaked from an extended rainy season it might take a few weeks of nice weather to dry it out. Cover up your firewood so you don’t have to play the waiting game with mother nature.
Keep reading to find out how rain affects seasoned firewood and what you can do to speed up the drying process. You don’t even need to spend any money to get your wood up off the ground and protected from the rain. All it takes is a little bit of work/time to build or buy a covered rack.
How Long Does It Take For Wood To Dry After Rain?
Think about something for a minute. There are lots of factors that will affect drying time. How many days has it been raining? What’s the weather like, is it sunny, humid, etc. ? Are you trying to dry hard wood or soft? How long has your wood been seasoned? How big are the pieces of split wood? Is the wood up off ground, covered up, and properly ventilated?
All of those things will affect the drying time of your firewood, but there are ways to speed things up. Splitting your wood into normal sized pieces, stacking it up on a rack, and covering it will get you 90% of the way there. You’re probably thinking, but that doesn’t answer my question. How long does it usually take for wood to dry after rain?
Generally speaking, it can take up to a week for your wood to dry after the typical rainstorm. There might be some residual water left over after 2-3 days, but that will get you most of the way there. I doubt you would even notice the slight increase in moisture level after the 3 day mark, but by the end of the week the moisture level should be back to normal.
Obviously, there are a few assumptions being made in the statement above. I’m assuming your wood is stacked up into smallish pieces, properly covered, and raised up off the ground. If the woods sitting in a puddle or getting bombarded with additional rain it’s not going to dry.
So how do I know if my wood is ready to burn and is there a way to speed up the drying process? By properly stacking and covering wood on a rack you should be able to speed up the drying time, but first I’ll teach you how to tell if your woods dry enough to burn. Keep reading down to the bottom of this post to find out how to speed up the drying time.
How Can I Tell If My Firewood Is Dry After The Rain?
A little bit of rain won’t damage your wood, but you should build some form of rack and cover up your wood. It will speed up the drying time and prolong the usefulness of your firewood. Wet wood will be harder to burn, smolder at a low temperature, constantly go out, lots of smoke. So how do you know if the firewood is dry enough to burn?
Using a wood moisture meter is by far the easiest way to tell if your firewood is dry enough to burn. You don’t even need to spend a lot of money on a meter since we’re not dealing with a life or death situation here. Pick up any cheap moisture meter you can find. I’ll get into a few free ways to check your wood after.
I bought one for like $10 at harbor freight, but they have a bunch of digital moisture meters on Amazon. Pick up whatever meter fits your budget. They all work on the same basic principle and accuracy isn’t that important for this application.
Set your meter up against the wood and take a moisture level reading. The optimal burn range is somewhere between 10-15 percent moisture, but anything under 20 will burn well. Green freshly cut firewood will be in the 35-45 percent range.
If your firewood was properly seasoned the outer layer will be in the mid 20s after getting soaked with rain. It should take 3-7 days to get back down into the mid teens. The middle of the log should still be dry so it’s not like your going through the 6-12 month seasoning process again. So what if you don’t have a moisture meter?
Checking Your Woods Moisture Content Without a Meter
With a little bit of basic intuition you should be able to guess on whether or not the firewood is dry enough to burn. Even in the worst case scenario, you’ll have a hard to start and really smoky fire. Once the fires hot most of the water will burn off fast since it’s stuck in the outer layer. How can I tell if my firewood is dry?
Does the wood look and feel dry to the touch? If the last rain was a few days ago then it’s probably fine to burn. This isn’t a life or death situation we’re talking about. Throw a log on the fire and see if it’s hard to light. I bought a propane torch a few years ago and that makes lighting wet wood so much easier.
A propane torch is so much safer than tossing gas on a fire and it’s kind of fun to use. It’s like your own personal mini flamethrower that lights anything in a minute or two. You don’t even need to mess around with tinder and kindling. Toss full sized logs on the fire and put the flame on it for 2-3 minutes. I have the a $30 harbor freight torch, but I’ve been eyeing the Flame King Torch that comes with an ignitor (don’t need a lighter).
Speeding Up The Dry Time After Rain
Drying your wood after a few rain storms shouldn’t take long. I don’t care how long it rains or for how many day. It should dry within a week if your wood was properly seasoned. You can speed up that drying time by properly storing your wood. As an added benefit, you won’t have to worry about your wood getting wet ever again.
Lets talk about something first before I get into the proper stacking/storage method. Set your logs by the fire if your wet and you don’t have enough time to dry them. The first few logs will burn like hot garbage and be hard to light, but the rest will dry out. After an hour or so the outside layer should be dry enough for the rest of the wood to burn.
So what’s the quickest way to dry out your firewood? Make sure your wood is split into reasonable sized pieces and follow the 4 key steps to proper drying and seasoning. Lift your wood up off the ground by putting it on a rack, cover up the top, leave the sides open to promote airflow, and try to maximize sunlight. If you follow all those steps your firewood should be dry within 2-3 days regardless of the weather.
- Raise Wood Off The Ground: Get your firewood up off the ground to increase airflow and keep it out of pooling water. The bottom 2-3 rows of firewood will quickly rot if you don’t get it up off the ground. You can stack your wood up on pallets, but I recommend building an actual firewood rack. Firewood rack brackets (my favorite) that you use with pressure treated 2x4s make building racks so much easier. Screw your rack together in less than 5 minutes and you can quickly swap out boards once they start to look like junk.
- Cover It Up: Cover up the top of your firewood by any means necessary. It doesn’t matter how you cover it up as long as the sides are left open to promote air flow. Most people use a cheap 6×8 tarp, but firewood rack cover is so much easier to use. I bought a cheap REDCAMP Firewood Cover a few years ago and I really like it. I’ve found that I make way more fires now that I don’t have to screw around with a tarp.
- Promote Airflow: Never cover up the sides of wet wood. A little bit of rain on the ends of your wood isn’t going to hurt anything. Allowing the breeze to blow through the wood is way more important than keeping the ends dry.
- Maximize Sunlight: Set up your firewood rack in the sunniest spot in your yard. The sun is the strongest heat source on the planet so use it wisely. A few days of sunlight and a nice breeze will quickly dry out your wood.