There are few things better in winter than a roaring fire. However, if you purchase the wrong type of wood, your evening glow of warmth could be cut disappointingly short. Willow, for example, burns incredibly fast and produces relatively little heat. Instead, you'll want to purchase woods like birch, hickory, maple or oak. These woods have a high BTU/ft3, meaning they'll burn warmer for a longer period of time.
Another important element of good firewood is its level of moisture. Dry wood burns best and some wood takes years to dry. White oak, for example, may take between two to three years to fully dry. Dry firewood not only burns better, but is better for your chimney. Wet wood burns at lower temperatures and increases the accumulation of a substance called creosote. Creosote build up may result in chimney fires. Conifers, like spruce, pine or balsam fir, also produce large quantities of creosote - no matter what the moisture level - and should not be burned indoors, but are okay for outdoor wood burners. The topic of creosote also highlights the importance of regularly cleaning your chimney. Homeowners can buy creosote cleaner to burn in the fireplace or wood stove. Follow label directions. It is also a good idea to periodically have a professional inspect and clean your chimney. Finally, the best firewood is purchased from a certified firewood dealer. Wood purchased from other sources may transport pests from one area to another, or may not be cared for properly.