What is the Best Firewood

What is the best firewood to use with a wood burning stove? The best firewood is one that generates good heat, burns a long time and doesn't produce sparks. Choosing the right firewood will keep you warm and make it easy to enjoy your wood burning stove.

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The quality of firewood is based on a number of factors including burn time, heat emitted, curing time and tendency to produce sparks. These factors are influenced by the cell structure of the wood, its water content and the presence of other materials in the wood. Here are several species to consider:

  • Ash - Widely considered the best firewood species, Ash has a water content of less than 50% and splits easily. It's one of the few types of wood that can be burned green.
  • Oak - Oak wood can be hard to start at times, but gives off a long-lasting, steady heat. This slow burning wood benefits from being well seasoned.
  • Birch - A superior firewood, Birch will burn well unseasoned. Birch can be a fast burning wood, and mixing with slower burning fuel is recommended.
  • Apple - A better than average firewood, Apple must be well seasoned to burn efficiently. Produces a pleasing smell and not sparks.
  • Pine - Avoid at all costs. Pine has a high sap content that leads to spitting. This wood will also produce an oily residue that will cling to the inside of your stove and flue, requiring frequent cleaning.

Improving Your Firewood

You can increase the burn quality of any wood by allowing it to dry out (called curing) sufficiently. Most species of wood need at least one full year (not a couple of seasons) to cure properly.

Although some curing is good, too much can be bad. Wood left to cure for more than four or five years will become rotted and too soft to burn efficiently.

Storing wood outdoors, sheltered from rain, is the best way to cure firewood. Be sure not to cover your wood with a tarp, however, as this will trap moisture inside and hinder the curing process.

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