Friday, September 19, 2008

Selecting the right type of wood to burn

Hardwoods or Softwoods?

Softwoods like fir, spruce, and pine are less expensive than hardwoods. Softwoods are easier to ignite and burn rapidly with a hot flame.
If you want a quick-warming fire that will burn quickly, softwoods are your best choice. However, if you’re a serious wood burner using a catalytic wood burning stove, hardwoods are the best choice.
Hardwoods such as oak and birch provide a longer-lasting fire with a shorter flame.
A mixture of softwoods and hardwoods can be used for easy starts and long lasting burns.
All woods should be season dried before burning in order to provide the cheapest, cleanest, and safest fire.

Note: Never burn rubbish, chemically treated wood such as discarded railroad ties, utility poles, and old yard fences. All emit poisonous fumes and could add to those materials that collect in the chimney, increasing the possibility of a chimney fire.

Note: Never burn coal in your catalytic stove. Never burn artificial or manufactured logs, which are composites of sawdust, chips, colorful chemicals, starch binders, and wax.
They might do harm to the catalytic combustor.
“Burn only season dried wood”


todd said...

Is it true that Pine burns dirty and clogs the cat faster than hardwood? Or will it be fine as long as it is seasoned properly?

Tim Cork said...

Hi Todd,
Pine isn't the best wood to burn as you know. However, if it is seasoned and your catalytic stove is operated according to manufacturer's instructions, you should have no trouble with the combustor when burning pine.
Not to many people use pine in their catalytic stove as their primary source of wood fuel. So it might be a good idea to check the combustor after a months burning.
If the combustor has a light grey color and the cells are not blocked, the combustor has operater just fine.
Just remember to make sure the combustor has lit-off before closing the by-pass. (see combustor light-off in an earlier article)
Thanks for the question and hope this will help.