There is nothing cozier at this time of year than sitting before a warm fire. Beside the atmosphere, wood can provide heat as well that keeps you a little less reliant on other fuel during the winter. A wood fire can provide main heat, backup heat or zone heating in your home. But as anyone who has ever been a novice to using wood as a heat source knows, not all wood is great for burning.
Why is all wood not equal?
You may know that wood needs to season or dry out before it can be burned. The dryer the wood, the better your fire will be. Not only will dry wood provide more heat, but it will also produce less creosote, a substance that can build up in your chimney and potentially cause a chimney fire.
How wet is your wood?
About 60 percent of standing tree is water, but different trees have different ways of storing water and as a result have different moisture contents even when “dried.” Some woods season quickly, while others never really get to the point where they should be used.
Hardwood versus softwood
Just as hardwood is best for furniture making, it is also best for burning. Great firewood is made up of hickory, oak, black locust, birch, maple and beech, although the wood available can vary by region. Around here, cherry wood is prized for firewood although it is not as common to find. Burning softwood should be avoided. Softwood includes evergreen trees, such as pine, fir and cedar.
How can I tell if my firewood is good
The best thing to do is to ask about the type of wood before you buy it. Also ask how long the wood has been seasoned. Firewood can be sold seasoned or green, so know which you have before you burn it. Firewood that is ready to burn should not be overly heavy (too much moisture) or sticky (pine sap). It should not smoke excessively when you burn it.