Solar or dehumidification kiln?

A discussion of the merits of two types of kilns for lumber processing. March 12, 2000

I have a Woodmizer sawmill and would like to add a kiln. Have looked at both solar and dehumidification (DH) systems, but cannot make up my mind. Anyone have any suggestions?

I have a Lumbermate mill and set up an EBAC ld800 DH kiln. Very good results drying 800 to 1000 board feet per load, in 30 to 45 days. Picked DH for better control of the process.

Do you want dried lumber and cash flow in the cool and cold winter months? If so, DH. I suggest that anyone over 10,000 BF per year is certainly in line for a non-solar kiln.
Gene Wengert, forum moderator

With the EBAC DH unit my utility cost has increased $30 to $50 in the months I have had the dryer running. I have a separate meter for my garage and shop so this is a reasonable estimate.

I have a 2,000 bd ft. DH kiln we built ourselves.

Simple construction materials, purchased at local lumberyard. Kiln measures 16 ft. long, 7 ft. high, 12 ft. deep. Operated on 120 volts, it costs about $1.50 per day to run. We air dry to 12 percent (4\4), then it takes about three to four weeks @ 110 degrees for full cure.

For poplar and oak, we add an electric heater to bring the lumber to 150 degrees for a couple of hours. This kills any varmits. We then allow the temp to drop back to 110 (the dehumidifier generates its own heat).