The fireplace should be a focal point of your home. In times past, before technology invaded the living room, the hearth was where everything happened. The fireplace was used to cook, for light and, most importantly, to warm the home. The practice of cutting firewood was an affair that lasted all summer and for some, keeping the winter chill away depended on it. Back in those days, firewood was pretty much whatever you could scrounge together, but these days we have the luxury of choosing exactly what kind of firewood you would like. The importance of the proper firewood is an often overlooked, but critical, component in maintaining the integrity of your chimney. At Chimney Care Plus, we believe in providing our clients with the safest and most effective fireplace experience. Our chimney cleaning regimen has been perfected and will take out the creosote, soot and any obstructions that may form in your chimney.
During the heavy use of winter, creosote can build up in your chimney. Creosote is the result of fireplace logs not burning effectively, leaving a flammable substance on the inside of the chimney. The buildup of creosote is not bad, if you stay ahead of it, and a chimney sweep is the only way to remove all of the creosote from your chimney. There are precautions that you can take to prevent buildup and the firewood you choose is a critical component in the equation.
What you are after when choosing firewood is the maximum usage of the BTU’s contained in the wood. Think of your firewood as a storage container for heat; certain species of trees are much better at releasing BTU’s when burned. There are a few different factors in achieving the best possible firewood. The most important is seasoning. Seasoning is the period of time the wood is allowed to dry after cutting, thus lowering the moisture content. The ideal moisture content is less than 30 percent, over 30 percent will let off much more creosote and other harmful gasses when burned. Let’s explore a few different kinds of wood and their effectiveness as firewood.
- Oak: Oak really includes a bunch of different species and we commonly find white oak in the Frederick area. The wood is very hard and exceptional for firewood. The wood is a challenge to season and it is recommended that oak be seasoned a year or more for the best results.
- Pine: Pine is not an ideal for indoor burning due to the fact that it has a lot of resin and a very high water content. Burning pine inside a chimney will create much more buildup of creosote. The ideal use for pine is a campfire as the wood tends to pop and crackle, enhancing the outdoor experience.
- Hickory: Hickory is the ideal firewood and will produce more BTU’s than oak. If you are going to split it yourself, take our advice and invest in a log splitter.
So what have we learned about firewood? The best species are in the hardwood classification with less than 30 percent moisture content. Woods like oak, hickory, and sycamore are ideal.
Keep your chimney clean and ready for a fire with Chimney Care Plus. We’re proud to provide chimney sweep services for folks throughout Western Maryland, including those in Frederick, Mt. Airy, Hagerstown, Myersville, and the surrounding areas.