With so many options available, choosing firewood is not as easy as it may seem. Knowing which types are the best to burn can help you tremendously when you are shopping for your wood fuel supply. At The Mad Hatter, our customers regularly ask our staff for recommendations and suggestions when it comes to picking out the best firewood, and we would like to share with you some information on the types of wood you should consider burning this fall and winter.
The most important thing to remember when buying firewood is the wood should be seasoned.
Seasoned firewood has been dried for at least six months after it has been cut. This type of wood has also been properly stored off the ground and covered to allow it to dry properly. When you burn seasoned firewood, you will have longer lasting and cleaner burning fires. Burning wet or green wood can be frustrating as it is difficult to get started. A fire from green wood also produces more creosote, a highly flammable compound that sticks to the walls of your chimney. If you do not cut your own wood, look for a reputable and trusted firewood dealer in your area who sells seasoned firewood. You can test out the moisture content of the wood with a moisture meter to be sure the wood has been properly seasoned.
Hardwood species burn longer and hotter.
According to Bob Vila, these three hardwood species are optimum for burning:
- Oak: Considered to be one of the best species for firewood, oak can be easily found all across the country. When it has been seasoned correctly, oak will produce slow-burning, hot fires.
- Hard Maple: Extremely dense and heavy, hard maple also burns slowly. In our area, this species of hardwood is abundant.
- Birch: Although it burns more quickly than oak and hard maple, birch provides a lot of heat. Less expensive than other species of firewood, birch is best used when it is mixed in with other species of hardwoods.
Softwood species burn faster but are easier to control.
While no softwoods are typically recommended, these are two softwood species that can be useful for burning:
- Pine: Easy to find, pine seasons quickly and is easy to ignite. You do have to be careful when using pine as firewood because it contains pockets of sap that can cause sparking, which leads to an accumulation of creosote in your chimney. Bob Vila suggests using pine to start your fire and then adding hardwoods after the fire has been ignited.
- Fir: The best conifer for firewood, Douglas fir provides a bit more heat than pine and creates less ash. You should take into consideration that fir will also produce sparking.
For more tips on burning wood, contact us at The Mad Hatter. We love helping our customers enjoy warm, cozy, and safe fires.