What Type Of Wood Are You Burning?
Did you know that not all wood is made the same? Most people know that there are many different types of trees, ranging from maple to oak to pine and more. Just as each of us is unique, the type of lumber from different tree species can produce varying results in your fireplace. So, what type of wood are you burning?
Before you answer the question, let’s first look at the various types of woods, what they mean, and how they affect your chimney.
Hard vs Softwoods
Have you ever chopped wood? If so, did you notice that some wood was easier to break than others? At the most basic level, this is an example of hardwoods versus softwoods. Softwoods tend to catch fire easier. However, they’ll also produce higher amounts of smoke and ash. If you’re burning them in your fireplace regularly, they’ll also lead to faster creosote buildup within your flue.
This isn’t to say you should never use a softwood. Rather, small pieces of softwood are great ways to start a fire. They help the denser hardwood ignite.
The best types of wood
Let’s dial in for a moment on hardwood. Generally speaking, this is the best type of wood for your fireplace. Because the fibers are closer and more tightly packed, there is less room for moisture.
There are a handful of hardwoods that are popular and well-suited for burning in a fireplace. Those are oak, cherry, ash, maple, and mulberry.
Some people use manufactured logs in place of chopped wood. They burn cleaner than softwood, however, they can produce a distinct wax-like odor.
Less desirable types of wood
There are also types of wood we would never recommend beyond basic kindling. As you may suspect, they all fall into the softwood category. Those are pine, spruce, and cedar. While they may smell great, they simply contain too much moisture content to be an effective fireplace fuel source.
Seasoned vs unseasoned
Finally, even if you use all hardwoods in your fireplace, it’s important that you properly “season” it before usage. All this means is that you cut it properly and allow it to fully dry out — usually around six months — before starting a fire with the wood. Otherwise, we refer to freshly cut wood as unseasoned, and this can also lead to a creosote problem.
So, what type of wood are you burning?
If you’re like most homeowners, you may not have realized the nuanced differences between each of these types of wood. This is especially true for first-time homeowners or those who may only occasionally use their fireplace.
This isn’t to say that all hope is lost. If you’ve been burning the wrong type of wood, all you will need is a chimney sweep and inspection before winter shows up. Our team can help with that process and schedule you on our books ASAP.
Call us for an inspection or cleaning today!
We understand how important it is to have a safe and functional chimney during these cooler months.
Call Chimney Sweeps INC. to get your fireplace in shape before this winter season starts!