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Tips for Choosing the Firewood You Really Want

softwood pine

Pine wood will create a nice aroma that will fill your home when burning.

Determining which firewood is the best for you depends upon your particular needs or your preferences.  You may like a fire which produces a pleasant aroma, crackles and pops, is highly efficient, or burns most cleanly.

It’s important to understand that all firewood needs to be properly seasoned, which is to say that it needs to have low moisture content.  When trees are first cut down, they are full of moisture.  There are many good reasons to avoid burning unseasoned wood, including:
•    The flames produce less heat; and
•    The fires produce much more smoke, and wood smoke is an unhealthy pollutant which can clog your chimney.

Pleasant Aroma

If you want to burn logs which create a pleasant aroma, there are several you can choose from.  Apple wood, cherry, pear, and other fruit trees produce fruity, delicate fragrances.  For a pungent scent, juniper and cedar are ideal.  A uniquely rich scent is produced by white oak, and black walnut has a pleasingly nutty aroma.  Fir, spruce, and pine can fill your home with the smell of a Christmas tree, but these logs contain a lot of resin, which contributes to creosote build-up in the chimney.

A Crackling Fire

Not only does fir and pine smell like Christmas trees, these types of logs create a pleasant crackle and pop in your fire.  These are softwoods which dry quickly, are easy to split, and create lovely crackling fires.  Before burning fir or pine, be aware that the popping throws a lot more sparks than other firewood.  It’s important to have either glass doors or a dependable protective screen.


Softwoods create a pleasant fire that doesn't generate a lot of heat, but typically produces a nice crackling fire.

A Small Less Intense Fire

Softwoods make great starter wood.  The logs ignite quickly and burn quickly.  A study which sought to determine which type of firewood causes the most creosote buildup in chimneys showed that seasoned softwood burns more cleanly than hardwood.  Softwoods don’t produce as much heat as hardwoods; but in some regions, it’s actually more desirable to have less heat intensity.

Softwoods include:
•    White spruce
•    Douglas Fir
•    Yellow Pine
•    Any kind of Cedar

Efficient and Hot Fire

If you want the most efficient fires possible, burn hardwood.  These dense logs have the highest BTU (British Thermal Units) content, which means that they give off more heat.  A truckload of hardwood weighs much more than the same sized truckload of softwood and provides twice the heat.

Hardwood logs are best for cooking and producing fires which are hotter and more intense.  The logs burn more slowly; however, it’s much more difficult to get a fire started using hardwood.  It’s best to use softwood kindling to get your fire started and then add the hardwood.  In short, hardwoods are the most efficient kind of firewood, they burn longest, and they produce the most heat.


If you are planning to heat your home during the winter with your fireplace, hardwoods are the best type of firewood to use.

Hardwoods which are good for burning include:
•    White oak
•    Red oak
•    Ash
•    Hard maple
•    Birch
•    Beech
•    Dogwood
•    Hickory
•    Pecan
•    Almond
•    Apple

Have you had your annual chimney inspection?  It’s important to be sure that your chimney is free of creosote buildup and other potential hazards.  Our professional chimney sweeps can help to ensure that you can safely burn whichever type of firewood you prefer.

Northeastern Chimney, Inc
37 Cody Street, West Hartford, CT 06110
Phone: 860-233-5770

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