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Burning the Right Wood

Burning the Right Wood

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Wood has been the natural choice of fuel for domestic fires since it was first used many millennia ago. Whether you burn wood in a stove, fireplace or fireplace insert, good quality firewood is the key to a successful burning season.

Hardwood or softwood?

Do you know the difference between hardwood and softwood? Hardwoods are any broad-leafed, deciduous trees, such as Beech, Elm, or Oak,  while softwoods are conifers including Pine and Spruce.

All wood, regardless of the species, has about the same energy content per pound. The different species vary only in density. The more dense a species of wood is, the greater the heat value or BTUs created per cord. Hard wood (oak, maple) will burn longer and produce more heat than softer woods (pine, birch)

Dry wood is always the best wood

No matter what type of wood you choose for your stove, it is important that the wood is dried before you burn.If you burn wood that is not dried properly, much of the energy is wasted in removing the water from the log and producing steam.   

Fresh wood contains a high amount of water, between 65-90%, depending on the species.  Wood should be cut, split and allowed to dry under cover for six months to two years depending on the species, before burning.

Good season dry wood should have a moisture content of less than 20%.

Which tree is best for me?

While all woods burns better when seasoned, in general the best wood for burning in your stove is the wood you are most likely to come across. Here are our recommendations:

  • Apple – Burns slowly with a small flame size and produces a pleasant scent.
  • Ash – Considered the best wood for burning; it produces a steady flame and strong heat output.
  • Beech – Burns similar to Ash.
  • Birch – Produces a strong heat output but can burn quite quickly.
  • Elm – Tough to split but provides an even burn
  • Maple - Very dense with a burn similar to oak.
  • Oak – The density of the wood produces a small flame and very slow burn.
  • Tamarack – straight grained, few knots, easy to split and gives good heat

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