If you've just purchased a wood burning stove, you may be wondering which type of wood is best for it. In addition, you may want to ensure that the wood you are using is healthy for you, your family and the environment. Here are four things to keep in mind when selecting firewood:
1. Hard Versus Soft Woods
The first choice you need to make is between hard and soft wood. If you want wood that burns long and hot, opt for hardwoods such as mountain ash. However, because they burn longer, they also tend to be more expensive. If you want to save money or if you're burning fires in the spring or fall when it isn't that cold, you may want to opt for softwoods like cedar.
2. Presence of chemicals
Ideally, you do not want to burn firewood that might have chemicals on them. They can fill your home as they are released from the wood during the burning process, and you typically don't want to breathe chemicals such as sealants or insecticides that are used to treat wood. To that end, don't use old decking, railroad ties, fence posts, furniture or similar items as firewood. Instead, buy actual firewood from a firewood dealer.
When working with a firewood salesperson, it's okay to ask where the wood came from. To safeguard the environment, you want wood from a sustainably managed forest. Alternatively, off cuts from sustainably managed sawmill are also fine. If you opt to buy firewood that has been salvaged from a burn area, make sure that the harvesters followed the rule of leaving trees that they thought might survive and only harvesting trees that they were sure were dead.
If you are collecting your own firewood, make sure that it is sustainable by following the government's recommendations. For example, there are limits on how much you can take, and in some cases, you need a permit.
Once you've studied the backstory of your firewood, look at how well it is seasoned. Many professional firewood dealers know exactly when the wood was cut and how long it has been seasoned. If you are not sure, cut into a piece of the firewood. If the inside is damp, the wood is too new, and it will smoke a lot while burning. If it's dry, it's well seasoned and ready to burn.
For more tips on which type of wood is best for your wood burning stove, contact a firewood seller.