Wood has been the natural choice of fuel for domestic fires since it was first used many millennia ago. Nowadays, being able to burn wood for heat in your stove gives you more freedom and options for fuel.
By using your wood burning stove to heat your home, you become less dependent on energy utilities but at Iron and Wood we appreciate there are many different wood types to choose from, and they all have their own individual burning qualities.
HARDWOOD OR SOFTWOOD?
Do you know the difference between hardwood and softwood? Hardwoods are any broad-leafed, deciduous trees, such as Beech and Elm, while softwoods are conifers including Cedar and Fir.
When it comes to burning wood in stoves, hardwood is better than softwood as it burns slower. The density of softwood is also around half that of hardwood, which results in it burning twice as fast – meaning you’ll need twice as much!
DRY WOOD IS ALWAYS THE BEST WOOD
No matter what type of wood you choose for your stove, it is important that the wood is dried before you burn. Wood that hasn’t been dried wastes much of the energy created while burning in removing water from the log and producing steam.
Fresh wood contains a high amount of water of between 65-90%, depending on the species. We recommend that wood is seasoned for at least a year, or preferably two before burning.
You can dry out your own wood in a wood store or, if you don’t have the facilities, ensure you buy seasoned wood from your supplier. The best kiln dried wood has a moisture content of less than 20%.
WHICH TREE IS BEST FOR ME?
While all woods burn better when seasoned, in general, the best woods for burning in your stove are the ones you are most likely to come across. Here are our recommendations:
• APPLE – Burns slowly with a small flame size and produces a pleasant scent.
• ASH – Considered the best wood for burning; it produces a steady flame and strong heat output.
• BEECH – Burns similar to Ash.
• BIRCH – Produces a strong heat output but can burn quite quickly.
• HAWTHORN – A traditional firewood with a slow burn and strong heat output.
• HORSE CHESTNUT – This wood is burnt well in wood stoves as it can spit. It produces a good flame and strong heat output.
• OAK – The density of the wood produces a small flame and very slow burn.
• ROBINIA – A good burning wood with a slow burn and strong heat output. Can produce an acrid smoke but if using a stove this of course is not a problem.
• THORN – A steady flame and very strong heat output without producing excess smoke.
With thanks to Jotul Stoves for this article.