The quality of firewood that you burn will greatly affect the efficiency of your system. The main factors you should be concerned with are moisture content, tree species and piece size.
Burning wood that is wet will result in a loss of energy output because the energy being consumed is primarily used for boiling and evaporating the water present in the wood. Properly seasoned wood burns easily and efficiently. Cut and split wood in early spring, stack under cover for burning in the fall.
Consult your firewood dealer for more tips and questions. Wood varies in hardness. While both hard and soft wood can be used for burning in your fuel system, there is a difference between the two types of wood. Generally hard wood will create hotter smoldering coals and will burn for longer periods of time. Soft wood can be used for short hot fires. Use hardwood for longer burns. Below is a list of wood from hardest to softest:
- Rock Elm
- Sugar Maple
- Yellow Birch
- Red Elm
- Douglas Fir
- White Birch
- Manitoba Maple
- Red Alder
Piece size affects the rate of consumption. Larger pieces release their energy slowly. Small pieces are better for short, hot fires.
Finally, a two-three day wood supply should be kept indoors. Wood brought in from outdoors in winter and burned immediately will cool the fire too much and prevent proper combustion.