When it comes to buying logs for firewood, there’s two main factors which will affect the heat that becomes available, how long they burn for and the damage that they may cause to your stove and flue through the moisture content and wood density.
Ash firewood is a lot more dense than other hardwood species, like silver birch, this is often found in supermarkets and also sold at garages. Ash gives a longer burn time (around 60 to 90 minutes for each log). With less moisture in your logs, less water needs to be boiled away through steam before the heat can be generated, this makes the kiln dried ash logs dry to below 15% moisture, this is the ultimate fuel for wood burners, multi-fuel stoves and open fires.
Badly kiln dried logs (these are damp at 20%) or seasoned or semi-seasoned logs normally sit in the range of 25%-40% and are difficult to light, they also produce less than half the heat output than our dried logs. Over time, these logs can cause significant damage to your stove and flue lining, making them inefficient as wood burning logs.
All of the logs we provide at Calido Logs & Stoves spend extra days being kiln dried further, this is to ensure a moisture content of less than 15% guaranteed, this is a lot lower than the majority of kiln dried logs which are available. Due to this they’ll catch fire and burn much more easily, they’re also more economical as they produce a lot more kilowatts per hour. There’s also no need to burn mixed loads or inferior softwoods to start and keep your fire burning.
The quality of birch firewood tends to range, this is due to the species of birch that you’ll use, birch are usually small to medium sized trees and they grow in lowland areas which have shallow root systems. These trees are best known for their unique bark, as with most trees there’s a number of different birches but the yellow birch and the black birch are best known for producing the most effective firewood.
Other common species of birch include the white birch which can be used for firewood but they don’t supply as much heat as yellow or black birches.
Black bird is also known as mountain mahogany, sweet birch and cherry birch, it’s the most popular firewood as it has dense fibres, allowing it to burn longer and at a hotter temperature. The black birch also has a unique sweet smell when it burns.
The yellow birch, sometimes referred to as the swamp birch is known for its bark with a silver-yellow appearance, as it ages it starts to curl back, giving it a unique appearance. Yellow birch is hard, strong and dense and as well as being a good choice for firewood, it’s popular for making furniture. This wood also provides a wintergreen aroma when burning.
White birch, also known as paper birch is known for its bark, it has white, thin, paper like bark. This bark is waterproof and is often used for canoes, these wood fibres are dense and strong like the black or yellow birch.
Oak is a popular choice for fire wood due to its national emblem, oak is one of the hardest and strongest timbers. It’s popular for use in construction but an oak tree will need to be around 150 years old before. When used for firewood, it produces a small flame and burns very slowly. Well seasoned oak logs will produce a lot of heat.
It’s very dense and will take a long time to dry to the core, making it a great firewood with a long burn and good heat output. At times the wood may require a slight draft from the stove to maintain a good burn. But once a good base is established, the burn time will be very long.
Hardwood logs burn at a much slower speed and give off a much higher and longer lasting heat from your fire. So you won’t need to burn as many hardwood logs in order to heat your home, as you would if you were using softwood logs. Hardwood logs also don’t spit like softwood logs and they’re much more safer to burn.
What is hardwood?
The trees which are hardwood are usually broad leaf varieties like oak, ash, beech and sycamore. They take a lot longer to grow and are much more dense than softwoods. Softwood varieties are generally coniferous trees like pine, spruce and Leyland, they grow quicker and are less thick than hardwoods.
Kiln dried or freshly cut logs
In theory, 10 kiln dried logs have a water content of 25% which generate the same heat output that 33 logs with a 60% water content would have, this is usually unseasoned wood. So that would make three non-seasoned logs for every kiln-dried log, meaning you’ll get a hotter, more efficient fire with a third of the number of wood logs.
Kiln dried or seasoned hardwood logs
Kiln dried is much more cleaner and insect free firewood, most insects and mould spores don’t survive the kiln process. Powder post beetles, Ants, Termites and Asian LongHordned Beets will not survive.
Here’s some of the top reasons why you should choose kiln dried…
- Cleaner wood with less bark and debris going into your home.
- They can be stored in your garage or basement instead of outside.
- There’s less creosote which will mean fewer chimney issues and maintenance.
- It weighs less so it’s much lighter than green or short term seasoned wood.
- It ignites easily and burns a lot more efficiently.
- It’s ready to burn the day it’s delivered and is available when required.
- The price is comparable to seasoned wood.
There’s a number of benefits of kiln dried logs including, the lighter the kiln log, the more you can carry to and from your wood store and stove. Kiln dried logs are also a lot cleaner so they’re better for storing. Using less kiln logs will also mean that you’ll have better control of your stove and the loads of wood for it. Your fire will burn much cleaner and hotter with kiln dried logs and your stove window is less likely to get covered in soot. There’ll also be less spitting and sizzling for the open fire, meaning it will be a lot safer for you and much better for your chimney.
Kiln dried logs will also look a lot more visually appealing by creating a real fire ambience with a bright flame and aromatic wood fire smell.
Kiln dried logs will cost more, this is due to the process they go through where they are kiln dried. When comparing the price, remember that with kiln dried logs, you’re going to get a lot more for your money. For every one kiln dried log you use, you’ll require at least three normal wood logs to get the same heat. With kiln dried logs, the highest temperature generated means that everything is burnt including the gasses from the wood.
This can be one of the biggest considerations when you have a fire, whether it’s an open fire, wood burning stove, pizza oven or chimenea, how much firewood you’ll need is something to think about.
How much firewood do I need?
This will depend on a lot of factors, some which we have covered in regards to the type of firewood. Other things include the size of the stove, size of your property, the type of stove, chimenea or oven that you’re using, whether you use it on evenings and weekends, etc. It’s an idea to work out the average usage per week, then you can decide on your overall use.
How should I store firewood?
It’s important to make sure that your storage area is not only close to the house and easy to take indoors, but that it’s a convenient place for delivery vehicles to deliver your logs.
The store needs to be dry so it’s important to ensure that no weather can effect the logs, the firewood should be stacked off the ground to ensure no damp comes up through the pile. Pallets provide a good base where logs can be stacked, ensure that the sides of the store are slatted to allow maximum airflow throughout the stack of logs. It’s important to stack your logs neatly to allow maximum airflow.
Your store will need a good roof, putting a sheet over the stack isn’t a good idea as it will restrict the airflow across the top of the stack and in the warmer weather it may lead to sweating and mould growth.
You’ll also need air around the logs when they’re burning, so there’s gaps for the air to travel around, this also applies to log storage, so make sure that you leave enough gaps for airflow.
When should I buy firewood?
Late summer tends to be the best time to buy firewood, you’re likely to get the driest wood from your suppliers having had the summer months to season it, it’s much easier to make deliveries and order your wood when the days are longer and the weather is drier.
How long do I need to season logs for?
Generally, logs take around two years to season, but this will depend on the type of log. The denser the species (for example oak and apple, these take up to three years to dry out, even when the log is cut into lengths). Ash is the most efficient and can take from 6 to 12 months, softer woods are also even quicker.