As the Winter is quickly approaching and the nights begin to get colder, many of us begin to crave the natural crackle and comfort of an open fire. Whether you already own a log burner or you’re thinking about buying one, we’ve put together a guide to choosing the best fuel for your wood burner.
What’s the Best Fuel for Wood Burners?
This may seem a silly question to begin with, but it’s a question certainly worth asking. It’s important to note that not all wood is equal. Some wood is much better than others when it comes to heat output, how easy it is to ignite, and the flame length. Today we’re going to be talking about the different types of fuel that you can use in your wood burner so you can get your fire burning in no time.
The Two Types of Logs Used for Wood Burners
- Softwood (Softwood is less dense therefore it contains less energy)
- Hardwood (Grows slower than the above but contains more energy)
Both types of wood play important roles when it comes to burning, but it’s important to understand how they are used first. You can’t just light a fire with logs though. You’re best off using natural firelighters used from wood shavings. These are easy to light, produce a strong flame, and last for a long time.
It’s also important not to use logs that are too large. For best practice, try to split the logs into five-inch-wide segments. This will be easier to ignite and provide longer-lasting heat.
Which Types of Wood Should I Use for Fuel?
There are several different types of wood that you can use to fuel your wood burner, each with its own characteristics. It’s suggested that you experiment with a range of fuels to discover which you like best.
The following types of wood shavings used for fuel are as follows:
- Ash: offers good heat output and a great flame and burns slowly.
- Birch: lights very easily, but burns quickly, so best paired with one of the slow-burning logs in this list.
- Hawthorn: burns well, produces great heat, and produces very little smoke.
- Hazel: achieves a nice flame but burns quickly.
- Hornbeam: also produces a nice flame and burns well.
- Oak: burns very slowly and lasts longer than most logs with only a small flame.
How Long Should Wood Be Left to Dry Out?
The moisture content within wood needs to be around 20% or less before you start burning it. The moisture of the wood can be measured effectively with a moisture meter.
It’s incredibly important to consider how you store or are planning to store the wood for your wood burner. If you’re using seasoned wood, it’s recommended you split the wood and stack it in a well-ventilated log store. This can then be left to dry out naturally until it reaches 20% moisture content.
The length of time you need to leave your wood to dry will depend on the type of wood you’re using. Some wood types are much more porous than others and can take longer to dry. For instance, Oak can take as long as two years to fully season whereas other types of wood can achieve 20% moisture content in 12 months or less when stored correctly.
What About Kindling?
You can’t get a decent wood burner fire going without kindling.
Hardwood is a more efficient fuel source, but it’s often difficult to ignite. Therefore, it’s best to use softwood to get any fire started. Softwood is much easier to light and burns nice and quickly. Once you have a steady fire started with softwood kindling, you can then add hardwood to maintain the flames and encourage a good heat output.
We hope you’ve found this mini guide to fuel for wood burners useful. If you have any issues related to your chimney, flue or wood burner then get in touch with the SweepSmart team today.