Its flame pattern, calorific value and smell are decisive…
Wood is one of the oldest energy sources used by people. Especially firewood comes with a pleasant additional benefit: It increases our quality of life – the blazing fire burning in the fireplace creates comforting warmth and a cosy atmosphere.
But, what type of wood is best for fireplaces? We have prepared a small overview:
Beech wood is very hard and fine-grained. It is considered the ultimate firewood, since it guarantees both a beautiful flame pattern and good embers. Beech wood features an excellent calorific value of approx. 2100 kWh/rm and is often used as a reference value in the comparison with other wood types. Many people like the smell of burning beech wood. It can be used for a multitude of purposes, but is, unfortunately, also quite expensive.
Birch wood, a light but yet weather-resistant type of wood, is often used for open fireplaces. When dry, it hardly produces any sparks. Besides, it has a beautiful flame pattern and smells good. The calorific value of birch wood is approx. 1900 kWh/rm. Due to its whitish bark, birch is willingly used as decorative wood and placed, for example, next to an open fireplace.
Oak wood is one of the hardest and most weather-resistant types of wood. By the way, throughout the world there are about 600 oak subspecies. Oak is the first choice for all stoves (tiled stoves, wood-burning stoves, workshop stoves) that are actually used for heat production. The calorific value of oak is about 2100 kWh/rm and thus similar to that of beech wood. However, oak wood burns longer. Still, oak wood is not the preferred choice for open fireplaces, since it produces fewer embers and does not have such a nice flame pattern.
The calorific value of ash wood is almost as high as that of beech wood. However, it develops an even more beautiful flame pattern and virtually does not spark at all. High-quality ash wood is really expensive. Besides, it is difficult to split and hence barely available. Ash wood has a very peculiar smell that many people are fond of.
Compared to other coniferous wood, pine wood is a quite hard and yet light type of wood. Pine is most widely spread in the Northern hemisphere. When used as firewood, pine wood only provides a medium calorific value of approx. 1700 kWh/rm. It is nevertheless appreciated for the pleasant resin scent that develops when burned.
Spruce wood is preferably used for preheating stoves and fireplaces, since it can easily be lit and burns quickly. The calorific value of spruce wood is quite low with approximately 1500 kWh/rm. Please consider the following: Spruce wood is not suitable for open fireplaces, since the resin bubbles trapped in the wood will burst and most probably spray embers.
Of course there are many other types of wood which can perfectly be used as firewood. But please consider one last advice: Wood types such as poplar and willow are absolutely unsuitable for use as firewood.