Nothing is better than a real wood-burning fireplace complete with crackling sounds and fixating flames. A great fire relies on great firewood, but it’s hard to know which type of wood you should purchase. Many choices are available, and the different species of wood do matter. Let’s discuss the most popular types of wood available here in New Jersey and which are best to burn.
- Oak: Oak is abundant in the U.S. and considered one of the best picks for firewood. When it’s dried properly, it will burn for hours and produce warm heat. The key is that it needs to be seasoned properly. Oak firewood should be aged in a dry area for at least six months. Oak is difficult to light, but once started, it will offer a long-burning fire.
- Hickory: Hickory can be difficult to split, but once you have this part covered, it burns just as beautifully as oak.
- Ash: Some argue that ash is the best firewood to burn, and it’s easily found throughout the U.S. and Canada. Ash splits easily and has a low moisture content, which is why people love it.
- Maple: Hard maple is abundant in the U.S., and it produces a slow-burning fire because it’s very dense and heavy. Soft maple is also a suitable choice for firewood. It’s easy to burn with no heavy smoke.
- Birch: Birch is an attractive choice for firewood because it gives off a lot of heat, but the drawback is that it burns quickly. If you find bundles of birch, you’ll probably notice that it’s cheaper than other woods. Just remember that you will burn through more of it, so it’s best to mix in birch with slow-burning firewood like oak.
- Apple: Apple trees aren’t just valued for their apples. They also produce great wood for burning since it has a pleasant smoky aroma and generates little smoke.
- Pine: Pine is readily available, especially because it seasons faster than other wood varieties, and it’s easier to split and light. It is great wood to start a fire with, but it’s not the best to continue with. Pine burns very quickly and has sap pockets that can explode, causing creosote buildup in the chimney.
- Fir: Fir produces sparking just as pine does, but the older trees are easy to split and start. Fir firewood also gives off an ample amount of heat, although not as much as the hardwoods.
What’s Better: Hardwoods or Softwoods?
Hardwoods are dense and pack more heat per volume of firewood. This is why they tend to be the best options for burning. The only con to hardwoods is that they are difficult to light. That’s why many people will use softwoods to get the fire going.
Softwoods are less dense and ignite quickly, but they don’t provide long-lasting heat and warmth. They give off soot and creosote which line your chimney, which is a source of chimney fires. Whenever possible, avoid using softwoods in your fireplace. They may be great around a campfire, but they are the last thing you want in your home chimney.
Also keep in mind that even the best wood won’t produce a good fire if it’s not seasoned properly. Drying can be accomplished in about 6 months and even if the wood is not split – it will try while still in log form. If the moisture is too high, energy will be consumed evaporating water instead of generating heat.