There are many reasons why you might need to start a fire. Regardless if you’re lighting up the wood stove, a fireplace or cooking over the campfire you want to keep those embers burning with the best wood you can use.
There are a lot of top-notch firewood options in Ontario but before we start choosing there are a few pointers every fire enthusiast should know to make sure you’re getting properly seasoned wood ready for burning.
The telltale signs of seasoned firewood
A well-seasoned firewood has some obvious traits. If it’s done right, seasoned wood will be cut, split and piled for approximately one year to ensure a moisture content of 20% or less.
Well-seasoned wood will produce more heat, less smoke as well as less chimney buildup.
Unseasoned firewood is much harder to burn due to it’s higher moisture content and as a result, will smolder and sizzle when it’s put into the fire. The unseasoned variety of wood is harder to light up, will often produce more smoke than a properly seasoned version and will burn slower, throwing less heat in the process as it battles to evaporate its internal moisture.
Compounding the issues with unseasoned wood is the increase of creosote buildup in chimneys. The evaporating moisture binds with various off-gases, ash and natural oils as the wood burns and forms a layer of flammable and potentially dangerous material on your chimney walls.
Choosing the best wood is all for nothing if it hasn’t been properly seasoned.
5 Best Firewood Options
1. Birch Firewood: There are many varieties within the birch family of trees. Black, yellow and white birch are the most common, with the latter variety being the most recognizable with its paper-like bark. White birch also produces the least amount of heat (BTU’s) per cord.
- White birch produces 20.2 million BTU’s for each cord
- Yellow birch produces 21.8 million BTU’s per cord
- Black birch produces 26.8 million BTU’s by the cord
Giving off a minimal aroma when burned, birch is an excellent option for your burning needs.
2. Hickory: Widely used to smoke various meats in BBQ because of it’s excellent flavour and aroma, hickory is also highly sought after as firewood due to its high energy content. Hickory is generally viewed as one of the top choices for firewood due to its dense fibers, it’s high burning temperature and slow burning speed. The only drawback is that I can be hard to get it burning.
- Yellow birch produces 27.7 million BTU’s per cord
3. Oak: Similarly to Birch, Oak has many varieties, the best known being red and White Oak. Oak is very dense and is often used as sturdy building material. That density also translates well into high heat (BTU’s) and slow-burning speed.
- White oak produces 26.4 million BTU’s by the cord
- Red oak produces 24.6 million BTU’s for every cord
4. Cherry: Coming in at the low end of the energy spectrum, Cherry is well known for its excellent burning aroma, making it an ideal option for in-home burning.
- Cherry produces 20.0 million BTU’s for every cord
5. Mixed bag: The only thing better than all of the woods listed above is all of them together in one package. Having a bit of each gives you options between different smells and burning temperatures.
If you’re looking for top-notch firewood in Southern Ontario contact Van Beek’s Garden Supplies and request a quote today.