Good Firewood For Wood Stoves
It doesn’t matter what type of wood stove you use for heating – whether it’s an outdoor fire pit, a living room stove, or a furnace – having the right kind of wood to burn is essential. In this article, we’re going to cover many of the things that you might want to consider when choosing the best firewood as fuel.
Although we typically think of wood as being a solid substance, it turns out that it contains a lot of water. Trees need water to survive and transport nutrients, and so freshly-felled wood has water content around 50 percent. In general, experts advise strongly against using freshly-felled wood for wood stoves. The high moisture content means that you have to burn more wood to get the same energy output (costing you more money), and the extra moisture can cause the interior of the stove to rust (if it’s made from a metal prone to rust or corrosion) and lead to the formation of soot, reducing your stove’s efficiency.
Firewood suppliers dry their wood before passing it on to be burned. The drying process helps to bring the water content of wood down to around 25 percent, making it safe for indoor, wood burners and stoves. When buying naturally-dried wood, make sure that it is at least a year old. Younger wood will have a higher moisture content.
How can you tell that your wood is dry enough for your burner?
You can buy a special tool called a wood moisture meter, although this usually isn’t necessary: a visual inspection will suffice. First, take a look at the ends of the grain. If they are heavily cracked, it’s a sign that the wood is more dessicated than if they’re smooth. Next, look at the colour of the wood: wood tends to darken as it dries. Finally, try banging two pieces of wood together: a piece of wood with low moisture content will ring as if it’s hollow, whereas one that’s carrying water will produce a dull thud.
The Density Of The Wood
Wood from different species tends to be quite similar from a chemical standpoint – it’s only the moisture content and the density that differ considerably.
Denser woods – hardwoods like oak, ash, elm, and sycamore – tend to burn more slowly. These woods have a higher energy density per cord, meaning that they will last longer and provide more energy for the fire. Less dense woods – softwoods like pine and fir – are often a lot cheaper than their hardwood counterparts, but don’t burn as long.
The good news is that most stoves can accommodate either variety of woods because they have advanced features that allow you to control the burning process.
Types Of Firewood Products
Nothing is stopping you from burning dried pieces of raw timber in your stove – that’s what they’re designed to burn. However, there are many helpful products on the market, that make using your wood-burning stove more easier and enjoyable.
Briquettes, for instance, are standardized pieces of wood that have been mashed together from smaller wood shavings and chips. Briquettes guarantee that you’ll always be able to fit fuel into your stove, if it can only accommodate wood pieces of a given size. Briquettes are brittle too, and can easily be broken into smaller chunks by hand.
The most popular form of wood for wood burning stoves is kiln-dried hardwood. This usually comes in large sacks or nets and is wood that has had its moisture content removed with the help of a kiln. Kiln-dried wood pieces are not always standardized, so you may find that some pieces don’t fit in your stove. Keep an axe or a power saw handy so that you can break up larger pieces easily. Kiln-dried wood should be safe for use in most stoves.
Starting a wood burner can be a challenge, even for experienced fire starters. Often you need much smaller pieces of wood that more easily catch fire. Kindling is precisely that: small pieces of wood with large surface areas relative to their volume, often with extra moisture removal to facilitate easier burning. You can also get firewood shavings mixed with wax and formed into balls, called waxlings, which provide excellent fuel for starting fires off.
The Price Of Firewood
The price you pay for firewood can vary dramatically based on a number of factors, including dryness, wood type, where you buy it, whether you have it delivered, the size of each piece (larger pieces cost more), and whether you buy in bulk.