A poem to help you pick the right wood to burn
Beech-wood fires burn bright and clear
If the logs are kept a year;
Store your beech for Christmastide
With new-cut holly laid beside;
Chestnut's only good, they say,
If for years 'tis stored away;
Birch and fir-wood burn too fast
Blaze too bright and do not last;
Flames from larch will shoot up high,
Dangerously the sparks will fly;
But ash-wood green and ash-wood brown
Are fit for a Queen with a golden crown.
Oaken logs, if dry and old,
Keep away the winter's cold;
Poplar gives a bitter smoke,
Fills your eyes and makes you choke;
Elm-wood burns like churchyard mould,
E'en the very flames are cold;
It is by the Irish said;
Hawthorn bakes the sweetest bread,
Apple-wood will scent the room,
Pear-wood smells like flowers in bloom;
But ash-wood wet and ash-wood dry
A King may warm his slippers by.
Firewood moisture meter
Firewood moisture metesr are perhaps the most important tool for helping you to ensure that you get the most out of your fireplace/stove. Your firewood moisture meter can help you make sure that you are getting well seasoned wood. Please don't get me wrong - there are many firewood suppliers out there who know their business and when they say that their firewood is well seasoned then it is. You may well find that these firewood suppliers are booked solid so try to get your orders in with them over the summer. A firewood moisture meter will help to confirm that their wood is indeed well seasoned and let you gauge exactly how well seasoned it is.
Conversely there are also firewood suppliers out there who supply firewood, claiming it is seasoned, when in fact it far from it. The first you will know of it may well be when you notice that your woodburning stove isn't giving out any heat and that the window is getting tarred up. It doesn't just stop there burning unseasoned wood will tar up your chimney (increasing the risk of chimney fire) as well as reducing the life of your woodburning stove and chimney. Burning unseasoned wood is inefficient and results in high levels of particulates, which is bad for health. In terms of how much heat you get out of your wood stove the moisture content of your firewood is probably the single most important thing to consider.
Firstly it makes sense to check with the supplier what type of firewood you are getting, it may be well seasoned, or the supplier may give you an assessment of the dryness of the wood anywhere from freshly processed to partially dry.
If the firewood is well seasoned then it should have a moisture content of 20% or lower, a few logs at around 25% isn't too bad as long as most of the load is under that If the firewood is a lot wetter than this then it is not actually seasoned firewood; it's a load of chopped logs that will one day be seasoned firewood when you have dried (seasoned) them. If after having used your firewood moisture meter the wood turns out to be wet, and the supplier is claiming that it it well seasoned, you should either pay less for the wood and store it up until it is dry, or send it back.
Please ask me to check your firewood and see if its efficient for burning for free.