What type of wood should I burn? The moisture content of firewood is actually more important than the species. Trees are comprised of 40-60% water. If wood is not seasoned, all the fire’s energy is used to burn the water instead of creating heat. Wood should be seasoned for at least 6 months and reduced to 20-25% moisture. Failure to burn seasoned wood can cause a build up of creosote, which means a less safe and less clean burn. This is one thing your certified sweep will look for during inspection.
Almost all wood will burn at the same temperature, though dense or hard wood will burn longer. Lightweight, soft woods like pine burn faster and
will create more creosote buildup in your chimney, though in small doses, this can actually be helpful. Soft woods are easier to light and can help the more dense wood to light evenly. Mixtures of hard and soft woods are a great way to build a long lasting fire that starts easily.
Where should I buy wood? The increasingly popular slogan ‘buy local’ is a good one to follow when purchasing wood. Locally harvested firewood supports sustainable forestry and is usually less expensive because you aren’t paying for transportation cost. Choosing local will also reduce the risks that come with bringing insects and fungi that are not native.
If you aren’t familiar with how to tell seasoned from unseasoned, buy from a licensed dealer so you don’t end up with sputtering wood that clogs your chimney with creosote. Burning seasoned wood is extremely important, since green wood will give you a lot less heat and a lot more creosote, which can cause chimney fire. Here are some tips to help you tell green wood from seasoned.
- Turns to grey or yellow depending on species
- No moisture inside when split open
- Usually has cracks on the ends that indicate dryness
- Will produce a hollow sound when 2 pieces are banged together
Most of the time, wood is sold by the chord, which usually measures about 8 feet long, 4 feet wide and 4 feet high. This measurement will vary depending on how tight or loose the wood is stacked.