Your brand new wood burner has just been installed and you can’t wait to stoke it up and get a good fire burning. However eager you might be to get it going, read on to find out the best wood to burn and why before you make the mistake of throwing any old wood into your stove.
Make sure your wood is well seasoned
Whatever kind of wood you prefer to burn in your wood burning stove, all firewood needs to be well seasoned before you think of putting it anywhere near your log burner. Different types of wood take different amounts of time to season (or dry out) so if you’re cutting wood yourself, you won’t be able to burn it immediately.
Before you can put the wood into your stove, it needs to be cut to length, split and stacked under cover for anything up to a year, with some woods such as Elm taking up to two years to dry out. You should also bring it into the house several days before you need it, to allow it to dry out thoroughly. However, if all this sounds like hard work, or you don’t have access to any wood, you can buy seasoned firewood logs from your local firewood supplier.
Where can I get my wood?
If you want a regular supply of seasoned wood, the best way to ensure that you get logs of a good quality is to buy from a reputable firewood supplier. While you might be tempted to stop at the side of the road where you see a sign saying ‘firewood for sale’, you should always check whether the logs they are selling are seasoned, either by air or barn drying or kiln drying.
One quick way to determine whether it has been seasoned is to check the ends of the logs, as they tend to split across the grain on the ends when it’s dry. Of course, if you have access to trees on your land, you can cut your own firewood, but you must remember that it will need at least a year to dry out before you can put it into your stove.
What kinds of wood are best for kindling?
Although wood from conifer trees tends to be resinous, it makes very good kindling. However, you’ll find that old builder’s timber is a great option for getting fires started; just be sure that it hasn’t been painted or treated.
What shouldn’t I put in my wood burner?
Never put treated or painted wood into a wood burning stove as they can release toxic fumes and can also cause deposits to build up in your stove, chimney or flue. For the same reason, you shouldn’t put MDF or chipboard in your stove as these are manufactured using glues and resins.