Wood has been the fuel of choice for heating in domestic settings for more than a millennium. However, did you know that not all firewood gives the same results?
Knowing a few things about the types of firewood there are can maximize your stove’s efficiency and save you trouble when it comes to your wood-burning appliance.
Firewood has two categories: hardwood and softwood. Below you’ll find a few facts about each category that will help you make the best choice for your stove.
Generally speaking, hardwoods are usually denser which means they burn longer and produce more heat. They tend to be less ‘sticky’ than softwoodtypes and are less likely to cause tar deposit buildups in your flue.
Hardwood trees are slow-growing which is what makes them become denser than softwoods. These trees tend to be darker in color, burn more slowly, and are best to use for cooking and producing fires that are hotter and more intense.
Hardwoods create long, lingering fires with lots of coals. It is typically the best type of wood for heating your home and fueling your stove.
Popular types of hardwood include oak, birch, and ash.
Softwoods typically season faster than hardwoods and are lighter and lower in density. They ignite faster than hardwoods and emit more smoke. This makes them more suited for outdoor use.
Although they are not as plentiful as hardwoods, there are still some great choices available that are perfect for kindling, campfires, or any application in the outdoors.
Popular types of softwood include cedar, pine, and larch.
Types of Firewood to Avoid -
It is a common misconception that you can burn any old thing in your wood stove; however, this is not true. There are a few kinds of wood that you should never burn.
Non-local wood - Using firewood that has traveled too far is one of the easiest ways to introduce invasive insects or even diseases to a new environment.
Green wood - Freshly cut wood has a high sap- and moisture content and tends to be hard to light. Once it starts burning, it will burn very inefficiently and will smoke horribly. If you’re not sure of your wood’s moisture content, try using a moisture meter like the one HERE.
Treated or painted wood - Treated and painted woods are often preserved using chemicals such as arsenic, and when you burn them, you are releasing those chemicals into the air.
Driftwood - Due to its salt content, the chlorine found in most driftwoods can transform into carcinogens that are toxic or harmful to inhale.
Large wood - Putting logs that are 5” in diameter or more onto a fire is a waste of time. Split wood dries quicker and burns better than round logs. Always be sure to split your logs for maximum efficiency.