Wood for Warmth: Choosing the Right Firewood

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Different species of wood make for different fires.

For all of FPL’s technological advances in wood science over the past century, the simple act of wood providing warmth and ambiance in fireplaces and wood stoves is still important.

The chart below outlines characteristics of several species and may help you decide which wood to use the next time you’re looking to keep warm by the fire.

Click image to enlarge.

Click image to enlarge.

According to the USDA publication “Firewood for Your Fireplace,” choosing the best wood for your fire depends on several factors. Consider what species are readily available, any personal preference regarding aroma, and what type of fire you want to build.

Softwood species are easy to ignite and burn with a hot flame. However, they also burn rapidly and require frequent replenishing to stay lit. Softwood species are recommended if you’re looking to warm up with a short fire that will burn out quickly.

For a longer lasting fire, hardwood species are a good choice. These woods burn less vigorously with a shorter flame and produce long-lasting, steady glowing coals.

The ideal fire, then, would use a mix of softwood logs for easy ignition and hardwood logs for longevity. By adding wood from fruit trees (such as apple and cherry) or nut trees (such as hickory, beech, or pecan), your fire will also emit a pleasant aroma.

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