Firewood: Everything You Need To Know About Keeping Your Home Warm

Winter is almost here and soon we will be curling up in front of our fireplaces. Before you get too comfortable you better make sure you have enough wood. But what is the best type of wood to burn? Hardwood or softwood? Seasoned or unseasoned? Some wood burns hotter than others, while others burn slower. Some produce more smoke and wood with high sap content can clog your chimney. Therefore the type of firewood you choose is largely a personal choice. We have made your decision easier by providing you with everything you need to know about firewood.

Hardwood Firewood

Hardwoods are known for burning hotter and longer. They produce less smoke and are generally more cleaner, meaning they will not clog your chimney. Because of this, hardwoods are generally more expensive than softwood.

Examples of hardwoods include: firewood in a basket

  • Alder
  • Ash
  • Beech
  • Basswood
  • Black cherry
  • Hickory
  • Maple
  • Oak
  • Teak
  • Walnut
  • Cottonwood
  • Elm
  • Balsa
  • Locust
  • Magnolia
  • Popular
  • Willow
  • Sycamore
  • Sweetgum
  • Tupelo

Softwood Firewood

Softwood comes from evergreen trees and is cheaper to buy than hardwoods. Softwoods make up 90% of all lumber harvested in the world. Softwoods generally burn faster and leave finer ash than hardwoods. Softwoods also contain more sap which can cause blockages in your chimney.

Examples of softwoods include:

  • Fir
  • Juniper
  • Redwood
  • Spruce
  • Yew
  • Pine

Seasoned Wood or Unseasoned Woodstacked firewood

When purchasing firewood you also have a choice between seasoned and unseasoned firewood. Seasoned wood is wood that has been left out to dry long enough that it no longer retains any moisture. That means it burns clean and smells great. Unseasoned wood is wood that was freshly cut and has not had time to completely dry out. These logs are hard to light, give off lots of smoke, and can give off the resin that clogs your chimney.

Best Types of Firewood

For those of you who just want to burn the best and cleanest wood, here is a list of the best types of firewood.

Oak: Oak is known for being dense and taking a much longer time to season than other woods. This makes fires built with oak logs burn the cleanest and the longest. 

Maple: Maple wood is known to produce long steady burns. It is an abundant wood found in almost every region of the country. 

Birch: Birch is often used as a decorative log because of its flakey white bark. Birch burns quickly but produces a beautiful flame.

American Elm: Elm is a wood that doesn’t give off much heat. It’s perfect for keeping your house warm but not too warm. Not ideal for keeping your house warm in the winter.

Cherry: Cherry wood is known for its beautiful aroma. It doesn’t need to be fully seasoned.

Which is Better? Hardwood or Softwood

Even though softwood is used in most construction around the world and is much cheaper, hardwood performs better in the end. Hardwoods are much denser and therefore burn much longer. Just one hardwood log can burn for several hours, while a softwood log will last less than half of that time. With hardwoods, you spend less time feeding the fire and more time enjoying it.

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