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Now that it’s officially autumn, you may be thinking about evenings with a cup of hot chocolate spent by a crackling fire. You shouldn’t put just any type of wood in your fireplace, rather, you should keep keep in mind that things like wood density and moisture content have a profound impact on how hot your fire is, and how long the wood will burn.Firewood at the ski lodge

The Key to Ignition

Wood, regardless of its species, is chemically the same. The wood’s density and moisture determines how it will burn, and its value as a firewood. Dense wood releases more energy and creates more heat. Dense woods like hickory or oak makes for a long-lasting fire and hotter coals than softer, less dense woods like elm or soft maple. Woods with a higher British Thermal Unit (BTU) will produce a significantly greater amount of heat than woods with a lower BTU.

Here’s a list of woods from high to low BTUs:

  • Hickory
  • Beech
  • Hard Maple
  • Red Oak
  • Yellow Birch
  • Yellow Pine
  • White Ash
  • White Oak
  • Soft Maple
  • Black Cherry
  • White Birch
  • Sweetgum
  • Elm
  • Yellow Poplar
  • Spruce
  • Pine
  • Fir
  • Basswood

How to Store Your Wood

Keep your wood outside, and be sure to cover the top and to leave the sides open to the air around the wood. Your wood should be sheltered from the elements, but also be allowed to breathe. Keep the wood several inches off the ground, and store only a small amount of wood inside.

What Not to Burn

Dense wood is clearly the best option for an optimal fire. Never put construction materials or other treated woods in your fireplace. Never put plastics, newspapers or magazines, gift wrap, rags or other household garbage in your fireplace.

Get Your Chimney Checked

Before your first fire of the year, be sure take advantage of Aardvark Air’s chimney check special. Aardvark offers a multitude of chimney cleaning services to keep your fireplace up and running all season. You’ll get the peace of mind knowing your chimney is safe. Click here or call us at (816) 945-6070 to learn more today.



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