What is the Best Kind of Firewood to Use in a Fireplace?
Not all fires burn the same! Did you know that different wood produces different fires and different smoke as well? So, is there a right choice and a wrong choice? Yes and no. Essentially, what you're looking for is driest, best seasoned wood you can get.
Dry wood will burn more completely than "green" wood. This will result in a hotter fire with less smoke. That's great because you don't want a bunch of smoke in your house. Beyond your lungs, it's also better for the fireplace and chimney itself. An extra-smoky fire that comes from using unseasoned wood will make more creosote build up in your chimney liner. This nasty build up is what makes it necessary to clean your flue. This creosote is highly combustible, and it also constricts the flow of gases up your chimney liner, resulting in decreased draft and dirtier subsequent fires. The more creosote, the more often you have to clean- it's as simple as that.
What about the wood species, though? Does that affect the fire and smoke? Yes! Hardwoods such as maple, oak, ash, birch, and most fruit trees are the best burning woods. Any of these wood species will give you a hotter and longer burn time. These woods have the least pitch and sap and are generally cleaner to handle. All of that is great news for an indoor fire.
Don't stop reading there! You don't want all hardwood, though. Experts tell us that it is a good idea to have a mixture of hardwood and softwood on hand for different stages of fire burning. Fir is the best choice, but other softwoods include spruce, cedar, pine, balsam, alder, tamarack, and poplar. The best thing to do is have some softwood and cut it into small pieces. This makes excellent tinder and kindling to get a small, hot fire going. Once this is accomplished, you can add larger pieces of softwood mixed with pieces of hardwood will give you a good, steady burn. If you want the fire to last most of the night, feed it with a few big chunks of hardwood.
There's a lot that goes into choosing wood for your fireplace, more than you may have realized. Yes- all wood burns, but not all woods burn the same. This is why you need to know a bit about the wood you're choosing. Some wood species burn hotter, slower, and cleaner than others. Some species smoke a lot, which you don't want inside. Others have a lot of sap or resin that clogs your chimney, which you also don't want. All things considered, the best types of firewood for an indoor fireplace are those that burn hot and relatively steadily. This means they will produce more heat and burn more completely. That's what you're looking for!