What Type Of Firewood Should I Use In My Fireplace?

The Best Firewood for Clean-Burning, Long-Lasting Fires

Hardwood logs in Lake Geneva, WI

Did you know you can modify the fires in your wood-burning fireplace, heating stove, or firepit? All it takes is being selective about firewood. It’s possible you could enjoy your fireplace more than ever by choosing the firewood that produces the results you want. If the environment is your biggest concern, you can even ensure that your fires are clean-burning and long-lasting.

Types of Wood

Hardwoods and softwoods are the two basic types of trees. As firewood, they produce completely different types of fires.

Hardwood Logs

Hardwoods are dense and give off the most heat—they have the highest BTU (British Thermal Units) content. A cord of wood, the typical measurement when purchasing firewood in bulk, is 8’ long by 4’ high and 4’ deep. One cord of hardwood weighs far more than a cord of softwood plus it will provide more than twice the heat of softwood. Hardwood burns the slowest, produces the most intense fires, and produces hot coals that remain hot long after a fire has gone out. When hardwoods are burned in good conditions for a fire, they produce very little smoke or unhealthy particulate matter.

A few examples of the most popular hardwoods for fires are white oak, ash, birch, red oak, hard maple, beech, hickory, pecan, dogwood, apple, and almond.

Softwood Logs

Wood Burning Fireplace installation in Kenosha, WISoftwoods are excellent to use as starter wood for a fire. They ignite quickly, burn cleanly, and leave behind a few embers. Softwood embers go cold quickly—they don’t smolder the way hardwood embers do. According to research, softwoods leave behind less creosote in the chimney flue than hardwoods.

In climates with temperatures that can quickly fluctuate, such as in some southern states, softwood is often the best firewood to burn. The fires are less intense and allow the room to cool off after a fire more quickly.

Some popular softwoods to use for firewood are Douglas fir, white spruce, yellow pine, and any type of cedar tree.

The Right Firewood to Burn

Whether you burn hardwood or softwood, it must be seasoned. Firewood that has been seasoned is low in moisture. The process of drying out typically takes about six months to a year or more, depending on the type of wood it is.

All greenwood (unseasoned wood) has too much moisture to be used as firewood. Unseasoned firewood produces an excessive amount of smoke and creates a lot more than the usual amount of creosote in the chimney. In addition, virtually all the heat from fires fueled by greenwood goes to burn out the moisture inside, producing an unhealthy amount of combustion fumes in the process.

Contact Burlington Fireplace for Chimney Sweep Services

To enjoy a clean-burning fire, it is essential to properly maintain your chimney and fireplace or stove. Contact the NFI-certified chimney sweeps at Burlington Fireplace & Heating for chimney inspections, chimney cleaning, and any of your needs for chimney repair or maintenance. We are located in Burlington, WI, and serve the entire surrounding area. Check out our website to learn about our different services and give us a call today at 262-763-3522 to schedule an appointment or to ask any questions you may have about solid fuel heating appliances.


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