Can You Use A Dehumidifier To Dry Wood?

  • Author: Irene Mills
  • Date: September 26, 2022
  • Time to read: 7 min.
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If you’re looking to dry your wood, but can’t access an industrial kiln you may be lost.

However, there are things around the home that, although not as efficient, can be used to dry wood. 

One example of a tool that you might have at home is a dehumidifier.

But can you use a dehumidifier to dry wood and is it cost-effective?

In this article, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about using a dehumidifier to dry wood. 

Can You Use A Dehumidifier To Dry Wood?

The simple answer is yes, you can use a dehumidifier to dry wood. However, obviously, it is not as cost-effective as using an industrial kiln to dry wood. This means that it can be very costly to dry wood using this method. 

The quickest way to dry wood is by creating a warm, dry environment in which to place your wood.

If there is too much moisture in the air then your wood will not be able to dry out. This is true even if it is warm in the room.

How To Dry Wood Fast With A Dehumidifier

When drying wood with a dehumidifier there are a few things that you can do to help.

Following these steps will help ensure that your wood dries as fast as possible.

Using a dehumidifier will allow your wood to dry faster than without one.

This is because it pulls moisture from the air.

However, you should first make sure that you are drying your wood indoors.

It is no good if you are drying your wood outdoors, even if it is under a tarp.

Your dehumidifier will not be nearly as effective and may end up costing you a lot of money.

If you also add a fan into the room this can aid your dehumidifier. Doing so will also significantly speed up the drying process. 

Try to place your wood in a room that is already very warm. This will heat will help speed up the process along with the dehumidifier, and, if possible, the fan.

How Long Does It Take To Dry Wood With A Dehumidifier?

There is no set amount of time that it takes to dry wood.

However, using a dehumidifier can speed up the process by weeks or even months depending on the conditions. 

Typically, drying wood can take up to one year.

So, adding a dehumidifier can significantly reduce the time that it takes to dry your wood. 

However, the exact time it takes to complete the process will largely depend on other factors.

This can be things such as the temperature of the room, airflow thickness of the wood, and how dry the air is going into the stack of wood. 

How To Tell If The Wood Is Dry Enough For Woodworking

In order to use your wood for woodworking, it will need to be pretty dry.

This means that the moisture content should be somewhere in the range of 6 to 8%.

You can check the exact moisture percentage of your wood by using a moisture meter.

This will let you know whether your wood is ready to use or needs more time to dry.

Wood Drying Time Chart

Below are some of the values for the maximum daily moisture loss for hardwood:

  • Yellow birch – 6.1%
  • Cherry – 5.8%
  • American elm – 10.4%
  • California black oak – 2-4%
  • Walnut – 8.2%

How Can You Tell If The Wood Is Dry Without A Moisture Meter?

Obviously, the easiest way to tell if your wood is dry is by using a moisture meter.

This will tell you if it is ready to use.

However, if you do not have one to hand then there are other methods of checking. 

The easiest method to use is the oven method, although this does take a while. You should weigh a small piece of the wood before placing it in the oven at 200 degrees. Leave it in there for 24 hours.

Remove the wood from the oven and weigh it again.

The weight difference between before and after is the “water weight” of the wood. Use the following formula to calculate the moisture content of your drying wood:

Moisture content = weight of water/weight of dried wood x 100

When choosing a piece of wood to test make sure to take it from the middle. Do not from the end. This is because the ends of the wood are likely to be drier than the rest of the wood. This is because they are more exposed to the air. 

Can Wood Be Too Dry For Woodworking?

Yes, wood can indeed be too dry for woodworking.

The ideal moisture content of wood for woodworking is between 6% and 8%. Anything less than this and the wood is too dry. 

If your wood is too dry it means that it will be overly brittle. When working with the wood you can create cracks and splits in the wood. This is particularly easy to do if you are working with the grain.

If your wood’s moisture content is below 6% then you may damage the wood by working with it. 

What Types Of Dehumidifiers To Use For Drying Out Firewood

When using a dehumidifier to dry out firewood you shouldn’t use any old device.

Instead, you should consider how big the machine is compared to the size of the room. You should also consider the amount of wood that needs drying. 

If you are drying out a decent amount of wood then you will want to invest.

You should get a more powerful commercial dehumidifier.

You can use a small one if you are drying just a few logs. Ideally, you would want a dehumidifier that works up to 80 degrees (most work up to 50 degrees). 

Obviously, the more powerful your dehumidifier the more energy it will consume.

So, it is best to opt for models that are energy efficient. This is because it can eventually save you a lot of money on your electricity bills.

Benefits Of Using A Dehumidifier To Dry Wood

When using a dehumidifier to dry out your wood there are many benefits that you can take advantage of. One big advantage is that you may end up producing better-quality wood. 

Using a dehumidifier alone can allow your wood to dry slowly, putting less stress on the wood.

However, if it is used with another machine then this may not be the case. This is because it may speed up the process.

A dehumidifier needs little to no supervision. This makes it a great option if you do not have the time to keep checking on your equipment.

In addition, electricity is the only power source needed. So, you can guarantee this at all times of the year and in any room that you choose.

Cons Of Using A Dehumidifier To Dry Out Wood

As with anything, there are both pros and cons. It is best to consider both of these before deciding whether using a dehumidifier is a good choice.

Although dehumidifiers require only electricity this can be very costly.

This is true especially if you are not using the most appropriate device.

Additionally, you may need to vent the area, which will increase the power needed to run the dehumidifier. 

Using a dehumidifier can take a lot longer to dry out your wood than using a conventional kiln.

This method also cannot sterilize the wood as it operates at a low temperature (below 65 degrees Celsius).

If you have green wood then you should avoid using a dehumidifier to dry out your wood.

This is because it can create an environment that is too dry. If the room is too warm or too dry then the wood can end up with drying defects. You should make sure that the room is vented if using this method with green timber.

Final Thoughts:

There are many different tips and tricks that you can use to dry out your wood at home. You can dry your wood inside or outside, with a kiln or a dehumidifier and fan, etc.

However, some methods are better than others and will result in better-quality wood or a faster drying process.

The simple answer is that you can indeed use a dehumidifier to dry firewood.

On its own, however, the process will be slow. But, when added to other drying methods, such as a kiln, a dehumidifier can speed up the drying process. 

You should carefully monitor the moisture content of your wood throughout the process.

This will ensure that you do not let it become overly dry.

If you intend to use the wood for woodworking then the minimum moisture content should be 6%.

Anything less than this will result in wood splitting or splintering when being used. 

If you think that using a dehumidifier is the right method for you to dry out your wood then make sure to consider both the pros and cons.

Although it may seem like a simple method, it can be very costly. You should ensure that you have the appropriate size of the machine. 

Looking For Dehumidifer Guides?

If you’re looking for more dehumidifier resources, consider checking out our other post on Dehumidifiers.

irene mills author of freshairdevices

(writer & chief editor)

Irene Mills is eager to help others create an indoor allergen-free home. She has years of experience testing out air purifiers, dehumidifiers, and other products designed to help with indoor air quality. Learn more about me.