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The best wood for you to burn

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By now, you’ve likely thought about getting that wood stove or fire place up and running. Or you already have! Those mornings can be chilly. You’ve done the important task of cleaning your chimney or flue and are ready to stay cozy.

You’ve also likely stocked up on firewood all summer and autumn, but sometimes, you’ll need more. When buying seasoned wood, what should you look for?

Through your own experimentation, you have probably found that some wood burns better than others. Some smoke a lot; some burn hotter. The most efficient firewood for a wood stove burn both hot and steady, and burn more completely. Wood with these attributes tend to be hardwoods.

What hardwoods should you consider? The best options include ash, birch, maple, oak and a lot of fruit trees. These woods produce the least amount of pitch and sap and are generally cleaner to handle. The downside, of course, is that hardwoods are generally more expensive than softwoods and often leave more hard and stony residue in their ash.

Fir is the best option if you decide to go the softwood route. Other softwoods include alder, balsam, cedar, poplar, spruce and tamarack. Cheaper than hardwoods, these woods burn faster and can be messier to handle. Balsam, pine and spruce will also cause creosote to build up more quickly in your chimney, so be forewarned.

The best firewood compares favorable per cord to the heat-energy equivalent of 200 to 250 gallons of fuel oil. These highly efficient options include apple, white ash, beech, birch, hickory, maple and red and white oak.

Obviously, all your wood should be thoroughly dried before you burn it. It’s moisture content should be less than 20%. When storing it outside, make sure it is covered but ventilated so it’s ready to go whenever you are.

Be safe, and stay warm as late autumn begin to settle in!

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