16.4 C
New York
Monday, June 5, 2023

How to tell if firewood is rotten?

Have you ever bought firewood and discovered that it wasn’t as good as the seller claimed? You might not have known what to look for at the time, but there are ways to tell if firewood is rotten. Here are some tips.

How to tell if firewood is rotten?

If you check for these signs, firewood is not rotten:

  • Check that the wood is not wet. If you find any wetness in your firewood, it’s definitely rotting and should be discarded.
  • Next, pick up a piece of dry wood and see if it feels heavy or light. Wood should be slightly heavier than water so that when you lift a log with one hand, the other hand will drop down by itself (with no effort). If a log feels extremely light or floats in water, then there’s no point using it as fuel because it will burn up too quickly – leaving behind ash rather than coals.
  • A third thing to look out for are discolored pieces of bark on some logs; this can indicate that dry rot has set in and spread throughout an entire stack!
  • Hollow pieces with soft spots inside also indicate that fungus has begun growing – so avoid those as well!

Check for insects, fungus, and decay

First, look for insects. If you see any small white or brown insects flying around your firewood or crawling on it, don’t use it. These are sawfly larvae, which can breed into a serious infestation in no time and make your entire pile unusable. Also check for tiny black beetles known as powderpost beetles, which burrow into wood and leave behind telltale powdery residue.

Finally, examine the wood itself for signs of fungus and decay. Fungus thrives in warm and moist environments such as those found in rotting firewood piles; if you notice little pockets of dark greenish-gray mold growing on the surface of your logs or sticks (or worse yet, inside them), then you’re better off just throwing them out instead of burning them up!

Tap the wood on a solid surface

Tap the wood on a solid surface. Check for hollow sounds that might indicate rot inside the piece of wood. If you hear a hollow sound, your firewood is rotten and should not be used to light your home’s fireplace or outdoor firepit.

Check if the wood is light in weight

Check the weight of the wood. If it is light, it could be rotten, whereas if it is heavy, it may not be. To check whether or not your firewood is heavy or not, pick up a piece and hold it. If you feel like you’re holding something lighter than expected (like maybe a grocery bag filled with books), then that’s probably rotten firewood. You can also put pieces on scales in order to see how much they weigh relative to their size (for example: if your scale weighs 4 pounds per inch, then something that weighs 30 inches would end up weighing 120 pounds).

If you’ve found some seemingly good-quality firewood but want an extra confirmation before buying or burning any of it—or if you’re just curious about what makes certain kinds of wood better than others—this section will give you all the information needed!

Check if there is any odor or discoloration

One of the easiest ways to tell if firewood is rotten is by checking for any odor or discoloration. If you have a piece of wood that contains dark-colored fungus, mold, or mildew, there’s a good chance it’s not fit for use in your fireplace.

Wood that has been exposed to moisture will also smell different than wood that hasn’t been exposed to moisture in the same way that bread smells different when it’s fresh out of the oven versus a week old (but still edible).


Firewood is a great source of heat, but it can also be a source of dangerous chemicals if it’s not handled properly. To ensure that you don’t get sick from using your fireplace or wood stove, make sure to inspect the wood before burning it. This includes checking for discoloration and odor as well as making sure there are no signs of insects or fungus present on the surface area.

Related Articles