Many people mistakenly assume there is little difference among woods. In reality, the woods you choose make a big difference. So the next time you plan on buying firewood, remember to avoid these varieties.
- Softwoods. While hardwoods are dense and burn efficiently, softwoods are just the opposite. These woods are less dense and, because of this, burn more quickly. This makes them great for kindling but poor choices for your traditional fire. They also produce a large amount of smoke, which floods your chimney with creosote. Evergreen trees are softwoods, so avoid buying firewood that comes from pines, firs or cypress trees.
- Freshly cut or unseasoned wood. Wood that has just been cut from the tree is still loaded with natural moisture. This makes the wood more difficult to burn. You may also see steam rise from your fireplace as the moisture comes in contact with your fire.
- Construction or painted wood. Any leftover wood from a construction project or wood that has paint on it should not be used as firewood. These woods are coated in chemicals that will become airborne as the wood is burned and can be dangerous if they’re inhaled.
- Toxic plant matter. Many people use grass or other plants as kindling for their fireplace, but toxic plants such as poison ivy should be avoided. The smoke that comes from burning these vines can be just as harmful to you as the oils from the vines themselves.
Next, learn the proper ways to store your firewood.