It’s the time of year when we put down our rakes and shovels, winterize our sprinkler systems, and park our lawn mowers for the winter as we retreat inside. The weather may be cold but nothing beats curling up next to a warm fire with a cup of cocoa.
Before you get comfortable you better make sure you have plenty of firewood on hand. But what is the best type of firewood to burn? Well, it depends on your personal preference and where you live.
Seasoned Wood or Unseasoned Wood
Anyone who’s tried burning unseasoned logs in their fireplace during the winter knows that it’s a bad idea. It’s hard to light and when you finally do get it lit you have to constantly monitor it to make sure it doesn’t go out. To make things worse, unseasoned wood is still full of water which causes a lot of smoke.
Seasoned wood should always be your first choice. Seasoned just means that the wood has been drying for a long time and retains no more moisture. These are the kind of logs that you want to use in your house because they smell great and burn clean.
On the other hand, unseasoned wood is wood that was recently cut and therefore still retains a lot of moisture. It may be easier but you’ll soon learn it’s not ideal.
Unseasoned wood can give off resin that clings to the walls of your stove, fireplace, and chimney. As the resin builds up it can clog your chimney, causing smoke to fill your house, or even cause chimney fires.
Best Types of Firewood
Oak: A slow burner that is probably the most popular wood available. It’s dense and is found throughout the continent. Although it takes longer than usual to season, a fire built with oak logs cannot compare.
Maple: Maple wood produces long steady burns. As with oak, it is abundant and found in almost every corner of the country and is a very popular choice among wood burners.
Birch: Birch logs look beautiful just sitting in a fireplace. The flakey white bark really draws the eye. Even though birch burns quicker than maple or oak but the flame it produces is much more beautiful.
American Elm: Elm is a popular, low heat wood. Perfect for warming your house but not too warm. This is ideal for people who live in milder climates who don’t want to turn their house into a sweat lodge.
Cherry: Cherry wood gives off a wonderful aroma that will fill your house, creating a warm comfortable mood. Cherry does not need to be fully seasoned like most woods to reap its benefits.