As the season begins changing and the weather starts getting colder, you may have to reconsider your firewood and its efficiency in your home and your hearth. Not all firewood is created equal, however, as their effectiveness can vary. Consider these strategies prior to making your first buy of the period.

Search For Well-Seasoned Timber 

What can we imply by well-seasoned? Properly, these would be logs that have been cut, at minimum, a few months ago, allowing for any extra dampness or water to escape. Ideal timber usually has a water content of 20% where fresh-cut timber may be almost 50% water. Timber that has been given a few months to dry out is less likely to trigger the harmful build-up for creosote in your masonry walls and fireplace. Firewood that is most effective is kept off the floor in a dry and properly-ventilated shed — or alternative housing. If you’re unsure about the dryness of the timber you want to buy, consider buying a moisture meter.

The Sound Test

This technique involves hitting two pieces of timber against each other, which can be an excellent indicator of whether or not they are “experienced” enough for your hearth.  A distinct “thud” indicates that the timber you intended to buy is experienced, whereas a dull “thud” means it is probably better to abandon these logs in the shop.

Where Was Your Firewood Yesterday?

In some cases, firewood may only be offered in certain states because officials want to decrease the chance of spreading invasive insects, such as bark beetles and the borer beetle, where the timer had been cut. You can limit the impact of bringing in invasive species by asking the owner of the timber, or the person selling it, where it was kept recently. In the event you get any sign that it’s been subjected to the elements– like snowfall or rainwater – it is likely easier to just take a pass.

Choosing The Right Wood For Optimal Burning

When choosing what kind of mood you want to set, or even what you want to smell, you should consider the type of wood you want. Some are naturally more smoky while some are harder to split. Depending on where you are in the country, you may have access to different types of wood, but generally speaking, hardwoods make better firewood than softwoods. 

  • Black or White Ash – This is an excellent choice of firewood, as it is very easily burned and produces little smoke and sparks. Further, it is easily split. 
  • Cherry or Black Cherry – Burning at medium heat, it does not burn as well as other hardwoods. While it does not smoke much, cherry wood does produce a moderate amount of sparks. It does, however, produce an excellent aroma. 
  • Aspen – This is easy to burn at low heat, but produces some smoke. While it’s not the best option for fueling your fire, it is easy to split and is available in many areas. 
  • White or American Elm – This firewood may not be your best option, as it is not as easy to burn, they are difficult to split, and they emit heavy smoke. If you have other firewood options, opt for those. They are, however, not the worst of the hardwoods to burn. 
  • Hickory and Hard Maple – These are easy to burn at high heat levels. While they are difficult to split, neither produce a lot of smoke or spark. 

We hope that you enjoy burning all the different types of woods in your fireplace, as autumn and winter months are great for experimenting with the best kind of firewood. When you’re ready to clean your fireplace, however, then call 1st Choice Chimney for quality and experienced chimney sweep services. We proudly serve the Dallas-Fort Worth and Austin areas. Contact us today!