Energy losses
March 3, 2011 | 6:00 pm CST

Q: Can you tell me about energy losses in a dry kiln? My folks like to run at low temperatures and I see the vents open all the time in the summer, which seems wasteful. I was taught to go as high as possible for energy savings. True or false? We are drying mainly 4/4 red oak in a 30 MBF steam-heated kiln.

A: I have calculated the energy usage for 4/4 red oak when operating at 130, 140, 150 and 160F at the end of a schedule in both wintertime (40F average) and summertime (70F average) for a 30 MBF kiln. The numbers show the reduced energy usage as the kiln temperature increases, as you had been taught. Further, it shows that in the wintertime, the cold air means increased energy usage, as one might expect. However, if the vents are open 100 percent of the time in the summer (the 130F example), energy usage is the highest of all situations. Let me know if you have any questions.

So, you are indeed correct. Now, you have to figure out a way to diplomatically let them know that once again you were correct!

Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

Profile picture for user genewengert
About the author
Gene Wengert

Gene Wengert, “The Wood Doctor” has been training people in efficient use of wood for 45 years. He is extension specialist emeritus at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.