The importance of firewood quality for stove performance

The importance of firewood quality for stove performance


Wood-burning appliances are a source of warmth and comfort on cold winter nights. To get the most out of these heating systems, good quality firewood is essential.

Firewood is the fuel that powers these appliances and, therefore, its quality can influence the efficiency, safety and cleanliness of the burn.

In this post, we will explain the importance of firewood quality for the performance of your stove and how to make sure that the firewood you buy is of good quality. In addition, you will learn the factors that determine quality and what are the characteristics of good quality firewood. We’ll also give you tips on how to store it properly – let’s find out!

Use dry, non-resinous firewood

What factors determine the quality of firewood?

The quality of firewood is determined by several factors: the species of tree, the age of the log at the time of cutting, the humidity and the way it is stored. Let’s look at how each of these affect the quality of firewood:

  • Tree species: species such as ash, oak or maple are known for producing high quality firewood. These types of trees have a high density and a high proportion of hardwood. In addition, the firewood they produce burns slowly and evenly.
  • Age of the log at the time the firewood is cut: Firewood from very young trees has a high percentage of moisture, making it more difficult to ignite and maintain a flame. On the other hand, firewood from mature trees is drier, which is easier to maintain and ignite.
  • Moisture content: Dry firewood with a moisture content of less than 20% is the most suitable to burn. It also produces less smoke and ash.
  • Storage: Firewood that is stored in an open, unprotected place absorbs more moisture.

Why is quality important?

The quality of firewood is critical for three simple reasons: greater efficiency, greater safety and better burn cleanliness.

That firewood and efficiency go hand in hand is nothing new. We have talked on numerous occasions that the quality of the firewood is responsible for many of the problems we face on a daily basis as manufacturers and sellers of firewood appliances.

As we mentioned in the previous point, good quality firewood contains less moisture and is heavier. When we burn wet wood, most of the stove’s energy is used to evaporate the moisture instead of generating heat. This means that the appliance will need more fuel to generate the same amount of heat, making it a less efficient stove.

As for the quality of the firewood and safety, these are closely related concepts. Quite simply, poor quality firewood equals a higher risk of fire. This is because this type of firewood can clog the pipes and produce large amounts of smoke.

Finally, we will talk about the cleaning and maintenance of the appliance. Poor quality firewood produces much more ash and soot. These substances need to be removed with regular maintenance of the appliance.

How can I be sure that the firewood I buy is of good quality?

There are several factors you can consider to make sure that the firewood you buy is of quality.

Here, we want to give you some tips to help you choose the right firewood:

  1. Check the humidity. You can measure the humidity with a hygrometer or by testing the firewood by rubbing a splinter in the palm of your hand. If the splinter produces no dust and sounds like you are scraping two sticks together, the firewood is probably dry.
  2. Examine the appearance of the log. As a general rule, quality firewood usually has a uniform appearance, free of bark and mold. Bark can clog the chimney and mold releases toxic gases during burning. We recommend lighting with logs cut in triangles to avoid burning less bark.
  3. Know your wood. Each type of wood burns differently. Make sure you choose the right one for your needs.
  4. Buy dry, non-resinous firewood.

How to cut firewood

Tips for storing firewood properly

The storage of firewood plays an important role in ensuring its quality. It must be protected and you must know how to take care of it so that when it burns, it does not damage your appliance. A correct storage does not consist of stacking logs of firewood on top of each other in a space that we have in our garden. Therefore, we give you the keys to store firewood correctly:

  • Stack firewood in a dry place. Avoid damp places or places that can get wet in case of rain.
  • Respect the passage of air between the logs. Firewood should be aired to ensure proper drying.
  • Do not cover the firewood completely. It is fine to use a woodshed or tarp to protect the firewood. However, it should not be completely covered. For this reason, the woodsheds of our stoves do not have a door, always one of its sides or two of its sides are letting air in at all times.
  • Level of the floor or support. The area where you stack the logs must be level to prevent falls.

For more information, we recommend you to read our post “How to store firewood at home correctly“.

Importance of the woodshed in the wood stove

We hope this post has served as a guide. Take a look at our blog and find solutions and recommendations to help you with your fireplace or wood stove.

Visit our online store for Panadero wood stoves. If you have any questions or need help choosing the right stove, don’t hesitate to contact us. We will be happy to help you.

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