What type of wood should I use in a wood burning stove?
The type of wood you choose to use in your wood burning stove is an important factor that affects everything from the temperature and burn-time of your fire, to how long your stove will last. So which type of wood is best for you? We at Stove Supermarket have tried them all, and here's what we’ve found.
Types of wood
In general terms, what you want from a log is one that burns hot and bright for a good amount of time, but you have to balance these concerns with price and availability in your local area. Hardwoods tend to be denser with less sap while softwoods tend to be less dense with more sap. As a result, you will find that softwoods will burn with less heat for less time, and they tend to produce more black smoke because of the sap content. But they also tend to be cheaper to buy because they grow faster. Conversely, hardwoods burn long and hot, but even the fastest-growing hardwoods can take up to a decade to mature, and Oak and Yew can take as long as fifty years, and this is reflected in the price. While these are general rules you will find exceptions in both hard and soft woods, so we've covered the three most popular below.
What is seasoning?
Seasoned wood is simply wood that has been left to dry after being felled. Generally the longer it has been left to dry, the hotter and longer it will burn. Ideally, logs are seasoned for up to two years, giving it benefits such as improving the quality of any wood. Even the least dense softwood, and most logs you buy will tell you how long they've been seasoned - which is also reflected in the price. If you're not sure if a wood has been seasoned, you can use a moisture meter to test it, the lower the moisture level the better.
Right out of the gate, Ash is one of the most popular woods to use in a wood burning stove because it is a good all-round performer for its price. It is a relatively fast-growing tree that is still a hardwood, so it's nice and dense. Not only will you tend to get a hot flame that will burn for a long time, it's not too pricey an option either.
The Silver Birch tree is another one of the most popularly burnt in the UK, mostly because it is very fast growing making it one of the most abundant and cheapest trees you can buy. Like the Ash tree, these logs will produce a hot flame, but because it is fast-growing it is also less dense than the Ash and so each log won't burn for as long.
The Oaktree is the Rolls Royce of trees when it comes to logs, as it is very slow-growing and dense, meaning that its logs will burn hot for a long time. You can easily sustain a fire for a whole night with just a few Oak logs. However this performance is reflected in the price, and it's often the most expensive of the commonly available logs on the market.
Ready to Burn Scheme
Woodsure have recently launched a Ready to Burn initiative to help homeowners look after their stoves and improve air quality. Air quality and wood fuel has become a hot topic and stove owners are being asked to think about the impact of burning poor quality logs has on the environment. A stove is only is a good as the wood it burns and so the Ready to Burn stamp of approval will reassure those who purchase logs with its logo that they are dry enough and ready to burn. Click here to visit their website for more details.
To find your perfect stove, click here or call us on 01226 816 051.
- Chris Murphy