The Best Wood for Your Chimney
While modern chimneys and fireplaces can handle any type of wood, some are better for your chimney than others. And by “better” we mean they have less of a negative impact and produce less “wear” than other types of wood.
First off, as a general reminder, burn only dry, seasoned firewood in your fireplace. This is actually a safety and care issue more than anything. Seasoned wood implies that the wood is clean, cut into 12 to 18 inch lengths, and dried out in a wood stack for at least one season – hence the term. Wood can also be kiln-dried, which rapidly achieves the same affects as a year stacked in a neat pile.
Newly cut wood is too moist – it contains sap, natural moisture and water, and must be dried out prior to burning – otherwise you risk excess smoke, which causes creosote buildup. Avoiding creosote buildup is the best way to care for your chimney, and to keep it clean between cleanings.
So what type of wood is best? If you have the option to pick from different types of wood, great. If not, that’s ok – as any of them are safe to burn, provided that they’re seasoned. But if you can, harder woods like ash, sycamore, walnut and oak burn at a higher temperature given their density. As a result, they produce slightly less smoke, which can help in keeping your chimney cleaner. In contrast softer woods like juniper, fir and pine produce more smoke – meaning they’ll add creosote deposits at a slightly higher rate. But again, if you can’t find these harder woods, that’s ok.
Sticking with clean, cut, seasoned firewood is the best thing you can do. And do everything in your power to avoid burning anything other than wood in your fireplace. It might be tempting, but the cleanup will be that much more challenging.
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