What Wood Is Best To Use In My Fireplace Or Stove?
When it comes to burning, wood is wood, right? Not necessarily…There’s a lot of factors that come into play with how different woods and the state of your wood can affect the efficiency of your fireplace.
When felling your own trees or purchasing firewood from a reputable source, consider the following if you you’ll be burning it in your fireplace.
What kind of wood is it?
Hardwoods burn longer and more efficiently, they’re usually the go to for the body of your fire.
Softwoods are less dense and therefore dry faster but also burn faster. These woods are good to get your fire started.
- It’s suggested to use only a small amount of coniferous wood in each fire as they’re filled with natural resins from the tree (often sold as fatwood). This not only makes the wood fragrant but releases the resins into the fireplace itself, which can cause a buildup of creosote that can cause issues if not serviced between seasons. For more information on creosote, see our article on it here.
Fruit Woods are fine for burning but aren’t necessarily the most efficient. Most people use these woods for smoking flavors into food but it’s not going to hurt your fireplace to use these woods.
Seasoning vs Kiln Drying
All freshly cut trees are considered green and the moisture must be removed before you can burn the wood in your fireplace. Burning green wood raises the chance of creosote build up in your chimney or flue system.
- Seasoning is the traditional way to dry wood in a system stacking and rotating that differs for different kinds of wood as well as personal preference. Depending on the wood, it can take anywhere from 6 months to a year for the wood to reach 20-30% moisture content.
- Kiln drying on the other hand is a much faster process that is becoming more popular, especially with professional services that sell and deliver firewood. Kiln drying can take the moisture content of the wood down to around 5-10% in a matter of hours, instead of months.
For more information on kiln drying, this article from Cutting Edge Firewood explains their process in better detail.
For more information on firewood in general, like how to season your own, the different kinds of wood and how they burn and even how to store it, Foresry.com has a great guide to firewood.
For a quick guide, specifically on woods that can commonly be found here in the Ozarks, check out the graphs below!