Gas, Electric and Wood Fireplaces — January 21, 2012 at 6:26 pm

More on Wood Burning Stoves & Fireplaces


If you’re thinking of installing a wood burning fireplace or already have one in your home, here are some helpful pointers on what wood will give you the most heat:

Most people know that if properly dried, hardwoods provide more heat because they are denser.

Hardwoods that contain the highest energy content include Osage orange, hickory, locust, oak, ash, and hard maples. The rule of thumb is the slower growing the tree, the denser the wood.

Less dense woods that have a lower energy content, and therefore a lower heat emission, include basswood, cottonwood, cedar, pine, silver maple, elm and sycamore.

-By Lynn Youngblood

  • Use dry wood
  • Light the fire on top of the wood – not under, because:
  • when the wood is lit from above, the heat radiates to warm the wood underneath. These pieces of wood will begin to emit gases which will rise, meet the flames and ignite
  • if you light from below, the heat radiation will cause the wood over the flames to release gases which will rise. Without flames at the top of the wood, the gases will be released unburnt out of the combustion chamber to the chimney, where they will form particles
  • the particle emissions from the chimney will be halved
  • you gain maximum heating efficiency from your wood and thus lower your heating costs

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