How do I choose the best firewood?

As I was shopping in the gardening section of my local discount goods store the other day, I couldn’t help but notice that the seed packets I had been hoping to buy had been replaced with brightly colored papers and ornaments. Is it that time of year already? It certainly appears so! And for us tried and true Floridians, the holiday decorations are a clear indicator of the changing seasons. Now I’m the type to break out the scarf and hoodie sweater for anything under 70, so Winter weather tends to dampen my spirits. I’m brightened, however, when I consider that colder weather also means cranking up the fireplace! There’s nothing quite like a crackling fire, either curled up in the living room or with friends making smores in the pit outside. Fortunately for us in the tree care industry, access to firewood is no problem. But did you know that not all firewoods are the same? Choosing the right supply for your Winter can help you avoid excessive smoke, foul odors, and failed flames.

All firewood contains water, because all trees require water to survive. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, freshly cut wood can contain up to 45% water! As you can well imagine, green wood (as fresh cut wood is termed) is very difficult to burn. In comparison, seasoned wood, that which has been allowed to dry under proper storage conditions for at least six months, is significantly easier to start, produces much more heat, and burns cleaner. That means less smoke and more flames.

And how do you know what type of wood will burn the best? It all depends on the species of tree. In some trees, the interior fibers are more densely packed together. These trees are termed “hardwoods” and include species of oak, maples, hickory, etc. Wood from these trees is used for long lasting flames as they have much more to burn in the same volume. In contrast, trees with less dense fibers, or softwoods, also have a value in the fireplace. Softwood pines are excellent to use when starting the fire. The sap, or pitch, present in pine wood is highly flammable, and can start a blaze with no additional fuel needed. And the smell of burning pine is certainly a pleasant seasonal aroma.

As the leaves change and the holiday items fill the aisles, there’s no better time to prepare for the Winter cold. For those in need of oak and pine seasoned firewood, O.A.K. Services offers discounted prices. In our efforts to maintain 100% wood waste recycling, we have quite the stock of seasoned wood, and we’re happy to pass the saving on to you at half the cost of local stores. Please call today for pickup or delivery (additional charge may apply.) Keep warm, and happy burning.

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They were very professional. It was amazing to watch as they lifted large tree branches over my house with a crane.— Mary O., Aiken, SC