What type of wood produces the most heat?

A good-quality wood burner can keep you toasty all winter, but if you don’t pick the right kind of fuel then you might not feel the benefits.

Every type of wood is different and to get the most out of your burner, you need to be sure that what you’re setting fire to will burn efficiently. Some species are dense, so burn fast and hot, while other types are lean so will burn slow and steady.

Dense firewood will always give the best results and, as a rule of thumb, most experts recommend you burn the heaviest wood you can find (making sure that it is well seasoned for the best results.)
· Oak: will burn very well if it is dried properly before use, producing a deep and steady flame.
· Ash: provides an abundance of heat and can be burnt unseasoned if need be.
· Maple: will burn slow but gives off a steady heat due to its dense nature.
· Hickory: a particularly dense wood which will burn for long periods of time.
· Ironwood, Rock Elm, Beech and Birch will also burn well.
Softwoods may burn faster than more dense species - but are very common so, they are less expensive and easier to source. That said, it is important to season these types - as resin found in softwood can cause hissing and spitting once ignited.
· Pine: easy to find and light’s quickly but if left unseasoned is only suitable as kindling.
· Fir: produces a medium heat, and splits easily but will spark and spit if unseasoned.

Types to avoid
Every type of wood is different and to get the most out of your burner, you need to be sure that what you’re setting fire to is made up of all the right properties.
· Alder: poor heat and will burn fast.
· Birch: good heat but burns quickly.
· Elder: mediocre output and quite smoky.
· Elm: known to release lots of smoke without much heat.
· Lime: poor heat output.
· Pine: crackles and spits.
· Poplar: burns slowly with poor heat.

Whether you choose hard types or soft, it is important to remember to season your wood by leaving it to air dry for around a year, dependent on the species. Alternatively, you can purchase it pre-dried from a reputable log distributor. Cracks in the log and bark that falls of easily are tell-tale signs of a well seasoned piece of wood.
If you burn unseasoned logs, lots of energy will be wasted evaporating moisture instead of burning the log and creating heat. Wood that has been seasoned properly will have lower moisture content and will burn as well as at it possibly can.

Which wood performs best?
Firewood performance will vary from species to species, but as a rule of thumb you should remember that the density of a wooden log will be a good indicator of how well and how long it will burn for. Oak, ash, maple, hickory and beech are by far the best performing types of wood.
Often, hardwoods can be more difficult to light than softer types but their output and the speed at which they burn will keep you toasty for longer and reduce the chance of causing harm to your wood burner.
For more information on how you can get the most from your wood burner read our
helpful guide to choosing and drying logs.

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