Build a Fire that Has Your Favorite Characteristics
What is your favorite kind of fire to build in a fireplace? Aromatic? Crackling? You don’t have to settle for just any kind of wood-burning experience. Become familiar with the characteristics of wood you can burn in your fireplace or wood stove, and choose according to preference.
Crackling. If you enjoy fires that are complete with crackles and pops, just keep in mind that these types of fires can throw a lot of sparks. Be sure you always place a protective screen in front of the hearth or close the glass doors. There are several varieties of crackling firewood to choose from, including the following:
- Fir is a favorite softwood to burn because it has a quick drying time, is easy to split, and produces a fresh aroma that can help create a holiday mood. Best of all, the wood crackles nicely when it burns.
- Pine is softwood that provides warmth and pleasant sounds, but there are a couple of things you should also know about pine. First, the scent emitted when burning pine can be unpleasantly overwhelming in an indoor atmosphere. Secondly, pine causes an increased amount of oily soot deposits in your chimney lining.
Pleasant Aroma. In addition to above-mentioned fir, you can fill your home with a Christmas-like aroma by burning spruce or pine, though all three of these logs deposit a lot of creosote when burned. For a delicate, fruity fragrance, burn cherry, pear, apple wood, or other types of fruit trees. Cedar and juniper logs emit a pungent scent that many favor. For a satisfyingly nutty fragrance, burn black walnut logs. White oak has a rich, unique scent and is a popular type of firewood.
Hot, Long-Burning. Trees are all divided into two groups: hardwood and softwoods. Hardwoods are dense and give off the most heat because they have the highest BTU (British Thermal Units) content. If you are cooking or want fires that are intensely hot, hardwood logs are the best because they burn slowly. You get twice the heat from a load of hardwood firewood as you do from the same-sized stack of softwood. Be prepared to have a little more difficulty getting a hardwood fire started; it helps to get the flames going with softwood kindling before adding the hardwood logs. Some hardwoods that provide a high, steady heat from a fire include:
- White oak
- Red oak
- Hard maple
Quick Burning. Softwood logs burn cleanly and quickly; and the heat that is produced is a lot less intense than fires made with hardwood, which is ideal for some climates. Starting a fire with softwoods is not difficult. Because few embers are produced, there is very little left to smolder after the fire has gone out. Studies have suggested that there is less creosote buildup in a chimney when softwood is burned, as compared with hardwoods. Great softwoods for firewood include:
- Yellow pine
- Douglas fire
- Any type of cedar
- White spruce
Remember that, whatever type of firewood you prefer, make sure it is seasoned or properly dried out before burning it. Schedule an annual chimney inspection with our professional chimney sweeps, to keep your chimney safe and well-maintained.
Chimney Solutions, Inc.
1155 McFarland 400 Drive, Alpharetta GA 30004
Office 770-255-1300 / Toll Free 877-697-9337