I have been burning wood since I was ten years old. My father had many things to do on the small farm as well as working a full time job. We did not have a great place to store wood to allow it to dry efficiently . Thus it led to multiple flue fires and one that caused enough damage that the whole chimney had to be replaced.

Two years ago I talked a friend through how he was handling his wood and discussed with him his site and what he had in place , and with no added dollars we were able to get his wood below 20% for fall.

I have heard of others that want to burn wet wood in their outdoor wood boilers. I know that some people are doing this but you need to look at the math. Math does not lie.

If you put in say 30 kilos  (66 lbs) of wet wood for the evening at 50% moisture  you are going to have to evaporate 15 liters (4 gallons) of water out the chimney before you can get a decent amount of heat out of the wood. Whereas if the same amount of wood was 15% moisture you would have to evaporate only 4.5 litre of water or just over a gallon.

I have seen steam coming out of wood when it is wet in the fire box. That moisture will condense and eventually lead to condensation in the flue and you could have a major issue with the stove performance or worse a fire.

Every homestead will have a different answer to the problem. Some will get ahead on their wood by one or two years and stack the wood outside with a gap on each row to allow the wood to dry. There are tons of opinions on this on the internet but what works for me is that my wife and I split the wood in the spring and throw the wood into a 38”x38”x40” Mosquito bags ( 5 are about one cord when stacked in the bags) ,,,, but what my wife and I do is throw the wood in the bags randomly , and we place them under a roof with clear sheet of roofing that allows the sun to hit the wood. Amazingly this stacking style with a roof that allows sun and no rain to hit the wood, allows the hardwood to come down to around 15% moisture by fall.

We are located in Atlantic Canada where we get the most rain second to Vancouver. You can dry wood in the summer ( if we have a dry summer) , but come fall, it needs to have a cover that allows air flow. I am in the camp where air flow and lack of rain on the wood are what you need to strive for,,, if you can let the sun through even better. For us the bags allow good air flow and it seems to function well for us. 

We like the bags as we can stack the wood bags outside with little effort other than a loader, and then when summer starts we stack them under the see-through roof for the following season, so in two hours we can move around 8 cord of the wood.