What types of wood should I use in my wood-burning fire?
There are various types of wood that are suitable for use in your wood-burning fire or stove. In general, it is important to adhere to a suitable length and thickness of logs. A length of 25, 33 or 50 centimetres is common. As far as thickness is concerned, it is important not to take blocks that are too thick because a large mass will be more difficult to burn. It is better to split the blocks first.
Use untreated wood
Firewood must not be treated, painted or varnished. Harmful substances are released during combustion. This can be dangerous for yourself and for the environment. Moreover, it creates more residues in your fire and in the flue.
Use well-dried wood
Firewood should be properly dried. Wet wood does not burn efficiently or cleanly. Are you unsure about whether the wood is completely dry? Then check the moisture percentage using a special moisture meter. An ideal moisture percentage is between 16% and 20%.
Which wood is best for burning?
Each type of wood has specific properties, but resin-free wood is preferable. This includes wood mainly from deciduous trees.
Beech wood and ash wood
Beech wood and ash wood dry relatively quickly. These types of wood are very common and are therefore generally available. Beech and ash burn slowly with good heat dissipation. These types are especially suitable for larger stoves. Both types of wood create beautiful, bright flames.
Alder wood is a light wood that burns well. Alder wood burns faster than the other types of wood.
Oak wood needs to dry for a relatively long period. The advice is to keep oak wood unprotected for two years and then to dry it for another two years. After that it is very valuable firewood, which produces a slow fire with glowing embers.
Birch wood is a soft wood and creates a nice fire. One distinctive characteristic of birch wood is that it burns very cleanly and leaves a minimum of pollution in the flue. It is also easy to light because the bark quickly catches fire. Another advantage of birch wood is that it hardly gives any sparks.
Wood from fruit trees
Wood from fruit trees is good firewood, but not always available. You do see a lot of small, gnarled trunks in fruit wood. It is difficult to split and should be dried for a long time. Once dried, fruit wood creates a nice, slow-burning fire.
Coniferous wood is not suitable as a main fuel for your fire or stove. There is a lot of resin in the bark, which can cause pollution in the fire or chimney. However, it may be useful to have some kindling from coniferous wood on hand, because it quickly catches fire.
Pellets are a residual product of the wood processing industry. Pellets are made from waste such as prunings, sawdust and wood shavings. These wood residues are compacted under high pressure. This results in a fuel with a high combustion value. Burning pellets in a special pellet stove is extremely efficient and clean. Very few ash residues are left in a pellet stove.
Can I use prunings for my fire or stove?
Wood prunings can be an excellent fuel for your fire or stove. However, not every type of pruning wood is suitable as firewood. Poplar wood, for example, spreads an unpleasant odour. Maple wood gives off a sharp, pungent odour when burned. However, you can use pruning wood from suitable wood species without any problems. Make sure, however, that the pruned wood is sufficiently dry. The drying time depends on the type of wood and the conditions.