The weather is getting colder in Maryland and many homeowners will be using firewood in one way or another. Whether you’re a lover of fall backyard bonfires or your home has a wood stove or wood-burning fireplace, there are some things you should know before starting fires this season.
All firewood is not created equal, and there are different types of wood that will give you different results when you burn them. Let’s take a look at some of the most common variations available for home use:
Trees that provide hardwood typically grow slower than others, which gives them a higher density than softwoods. Hardwoods tend to burn more slowly and are great for fires that will be used for cooking or making fires that are hotter and more intense.
- Fueling your wood stove
- Heating your house
- For a residential fireplace
- For fires that need to burn throughout the night
- Oak: Easy to find, very dense, can burn for a long time.
- Birch: Burns quickly and well, efficient when unseasoned, bark can be used as a natural fire starter.
- Ash: Burns well without help, produces steady flames, great heat output.
Softwoods are lighter and lower in density than hardwoods and tend to season more quickly as well. This type of wood ignites quicker than hardwoods and emit more smoke, which means they aren’t as beneficial for indoor use.
- Outdoor use
- Pine: Ignites easily, burns quickly, great fire starter.
- Cedar: Give off a pleasant smell, lasting heat with little flame, strong crackling sound.
- Larch: Can be harder than some hardwoods, great for stoves, low maintenance.
Seasoned vs. Unseasoned
To put it simply, seasoned wood is wood that is dry. Freshly-cut wood is almost always unseasoned, as it still contains quite a bit of water. Wet, or unseasoned, wood is difficult to burn and will often produce a large amount of smoke. Properly seasoned wood is wet wood that has been cut, stacked, and allowed to dry in an area free of moisture. Softwoods can be seasoned in as few as 6 months, while hardwoods can take years to properly season. You always want to burn seasoned wood in order to ensure a more efficient, longer-lasting, and smoke-free burn.
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