If you want to burn firewood, you should make sure you pick out the right kind of timber. Plenty of people assume that one type of firewood is as good as the next, and they often turn their backs on hardwood since it tends to be more expensive than softwood. However, hardwood firewood comes with a whole host of benefits. Here are just four reasons to pick it over softwood timber.
1. Burns Longer
One of the most important characteristics that changes between different types of firewood is density. Density is related to dry weight per unit. With a high density of plant cells, firewood taken from high density timber will contain more fuel per square inch. Hardwood timber is almost always significantly denser than softwood timber, so it tends to turn a lot slower and more steadily – softwoods, with lower cell densities, burn through their available energy much faster. If you don't want to get up as much to add more logs, or if you need a fire that will last through the night, hardwood is the way to go.
2. Burns Hotter
The density of hardwood doesn't just help it burn longer. When high-density firewood burns, it gives off more energy than low-density firewood. With hardwood firewood, you'll be able to use fewer logs to achieve the same level of heat. Better yet, fires lit with hardwood timber create hotter coals, so you'll find it easier to re-start the fire.
3. Less Smoke
You're never going to find firewood that doesn't give off smoke when it burns, but you should try to minimize the amount of smoke produced. Remember, smoke coats your burning area, so you'll need to clean more when more smoke is produced. Reducing the moisture content by aging your firewood is one method of reducing smoke, but you should also pick hardwoods over softwoods. Hotter fires produce less smoke, and hardwoods burn hotter than softwoods.
4. Fewer Sparks
The pop and snap of an open fire is nice and relaxing, but you don't want too many sparks or larger pops. Softwoods have a higher sap content than hardwoods – they need it more to seep into wounds since softwood trees aren't as tough. That sap hardens to form a natural bandage, which works wonders for the tree. Unfortunately, sap is also quite volatile. Any firewood with a high sap content will give off more sparks when burned. Excess sap also contributes to softwood timber's habit of smoking more.