What Type Of Wood Should You Burn?
We’re just going to ask the question right out of the gate: what type of wood are you burning?
Are you not sure what we mean exactly? If so, don’t worry. Many of our Chimney Specialists Inc. homeowners don’t always know the answer to this question, let alone its importance. We asked the question like we did because it’s important to understand the differences between the various types of wood, how they affect your chimney, and the best type of wood for your fireplace.
So, if you don’t know what type of wood you’re burning, that’s okay. Join us on this brief journey as we unpack the best answer to this question.
Seasoned wood is best
Let’s start by defining the differences between seasoned and unseasoned wood. Unseasoned wood is fresh cut, often green, and full of moisture. Unseasoned wood needs to dry out the right way, usually around six months. This waiting period is what helps to “season” the wood. Think of it as the passage of time, or seasons, instead of adding seasoning to your food.
You always want to burn seasoned wood. Otherwise, you will have more creosote than you want, and it will build up faster than expected. Creosote is a natural by-product of burning wood, yes, but its quantity is magnified with unseasoned wood.
Hardwood is better
Hardwood should still be seasoned. However, it’s a far better alternative than softwoods. The reason is that the fibers of hardwood are more densely packed, preventing excessive moisture from penetrating its internal layers. Popular hardwoods include oak, cherry, and maple.
On the other hand, softwoods burn faster and have more moisture. This means that they produce more smoke faster, and therefore lead to more creosote. Softwoods include pine, spruce, and cedar.
Softwood has its place
This doesn’t mean that you can’t use softwoods. They’re not bad for a campfire and to use as a starter in the form of kindling. You can place small pieces of softwood under your hardwood fuel to get the fire burning faster.
Unseasoned wood is not recommended
We want to make this clear though: the worst combination for your fireplace is an unseasoned soft wood. These will burn hotter, and faster, and produce far more smoke than is ideal. Then, as a consequence of that, creosote will take hold in your chimney with relative ease. As this sticky, tar-like substance is flammable, you don’t want to risk a house fire if it were to break off and start to burn.
Do you know what type of wood you are burning now?
As it turns out, not all wood is created equally. Hopefully, you’ve been burning seasoned hardwood. But if you haven’t, that’s okay. Our team can help.
We’ll gladly perform a chimney sweep and inspection and remove any creosote buildup from your flue.