As winter really begins to bite and the temperatures plummet many people will turn to firewood as fuel to warm their homes. However, it is not only the easy accessibility to firewood that makes it such an attractive option. Most firewood today is sourced from sustainable plantations and is also a cost-effective way to warm the home.
There is also the pleasure of making the fire – and in the dancing flames that have fascinated human beings throughout the ages. However, choosing just which wood to use can be a challenge – there are numerous types – and each has its own unique burning characteristics. Your choice of firewood is a highly individual one – it may depend on a variety of factors including your heating needs and whether you will be choosing hard or softwoods, or seasoned (left to dry for a period prior to use) vs unseasoned wood. Both of those factors will affect burning time amongst other things. So what is the best firewood to use this winter?
For those who want to enjoy the pleasure of fire here are some of the most popular types of wood you can choose:
- Apple – For those who want to either use natural material to cook on or who want a wood that gives off a pleasant odor then Apple should be high on the list. It’s fairly slow-burning which means less supplementing with new logs – and it also imparts a wonderful flavor to foods.
- Cherry – Another type of wood that also gives off a pleasant odor is Cherry. Well, seasoned Cherry wood burns slowly and is ideal for home heating purposes.
- Ash – If heat is a priority then Ash is one of the top choices. It burns steadily and gives off a wonderful amount of heat. For the best effect, Ash should be seasoned.
- Birch – Birch is also widely available. However, fires fueled by Birch require keeping a close eye on the state of the fire. Due to the fact that it burns quickly, you will need to supplement the fire with fresh fuel regularly. As it is usually available as ‘gree’ wood it also gives off a large amount of particulate matter which means that it may eventually cause chimney blockages.
- Blackthorn – For those who are in search of clean-burning wood that gives off a nice amount of heat, Blackthorn can be a great choice.
- Hawthorn – Another slow-burning wood that is popular with homeowners is Hawthorn. This would not only burn slowly and steadily but also gives off a steady heat which makes it ideal for home use. You will simply be reducing the amount of wood that is being used – and saving yourself continual trips to the woodpile, as well as cutting down on the chore of tending the fire as it burns.
- Maple – In the United States, one of the most popular types of wood for home use is Maple due to the fact that the trees are found in abundance across the country. Maple is a hardwood – meaning that it burns for longer periods than softwoods. It also offers superior heat generation.
- Oak – Oak is another widespread tree in the U.S. and is popular for home use. However, it does require extensive seasoning in order for it to deliver a steady heat and a long-lasting fire.
- Pine – For many people, Pine is one of the most easily obtainable woods for home use. It does burn fairly quickly and the resin makes it ideal as a fire starter. It does produce a large amount of residue – and is, therefore, more suited to outdoor use – says in a firepit. While burning it does give off a very pleasant odor.
- Walnut – A great all-round choice for home use is Walnut. A hardwood, it burns for a long time giving off a steady heat. It also gives off very little smoke – making it ideal for use in a wood-burning stove.
- Yew – Another fabulous all-round choice is Yew. It provides a superior amount of heat and also burns for a long period of time. A bonus to the use of yew is that it also gives off a very pleasing odor.
- Tamarack – For those in search of a middle ground as far as heat is concerned Tamarack can provide that compromise between heat and the longevity of the wood as it burns.
- Beech – For those who experience very cold winters, American Beech should be high on the bucket list of woods to seek out. It gives off a tremendous amount of heat while burning.
- Ironwood – Another great choice for coping with those really low winter temperatures is Ironwood. in fact it might burn too hot if the weather isn’t really icy. This can lead to the home becoming uncomfortably warm.
- Elm – A nice compromise is American Elm. This burns hot – but not too hot. Tamarack is another wood that gives off a steady – but not fierce heat.
- Aspen – For those who are looking for a lower heat Aspen is a great choice.
- Cottonwood – Cottonwood is another wood that provides a lower heat and would be suitable for those who are not experiencing very low temperatures during the winter season.
- Western Red Cedar – Western Red Cedar is yet another choice for those who want to be cozy – but not overwhelmed by the amount of heat that is produced in the fireplace.
- Sitka Spruce – If you have access to Sitka Spruce that can also be a fantastic choice as far as a low heat wood is concerned.
Knowing what is available and where to buy firewood in your area will give you an idea of what is the firewood you need. The best firewood for you will depend on three factors. The first is availability – not all types of woods are easily obtainable throughout the United States. The second factor is what sort of heat you are looking for – there is such a thing as a fire that can simply be too hot. The third is the cost of wood. Of course, the woods above are not equal nor the prices of firewood.
Firewood’s price is measured through fractions of cords. It is important to know how much is a cord of firewood so you can make sure that you are paying the right amount of money for the firewood you get.
If you take these three factors into account you will be set to enjoy the colder months in the comfort of your own home. The joy of a crackling fire should not be underestimated – one of the reasons that this method of heating the home remains a favorite with homeowners across the country.