The Truth About Conventional Wood

The size of logs affects the speed of combustion. Large logs catch fire and release their energy more slowly than small logs.


Type of Wood

Several varieties of wood are used for heating, and the choice of these varieties will have an effect on the efficiency of your heating appliance. Wood is generally sold by volume, known as a cord, which means that the energy in each cord can greatly vary from one type to another. Thermal energy in logs also varies greatly according to type.


Humidity Content

The humidity content in wood determines the speed and efficiency of combustion. The humidity content in wood varies between 35 and 60% of the total weight. The humidity of wood is the most common heating problem. The energy created by combustion serves to evaporate humidity, which creates a loss in efficiency.



Up to half the weight of a freshly cut log is made of water. After sufficient drying, the content is reduced to 25 or 30%. As much as the wood is heated in the combustion chamber, the water evaporates while consuming thermal energy to make the water evaporate. That's why firewood whistles, crackles and is hard to burn.

The emission of smoke as the temperature of the wood rises above the point that water boils gets mixed with the smoke. The smoke is a concrete sign of the decomposition of hardwood which is evaporated in a cloud of combustible gas and drops of tar. The burnt smoke produces bright flames that are characteristic of wood combustions. Nevertheless, the smoke that doesn't burn in the combustion chambre leaves the appliance through the stove pipe and the chimney, where it condenses and forms deposits of creosote, or even escapes into the atmosphere in the form of pollution. Unburned smoke represents a loss of efficiency since it contains a large part of the total energy provided by the wood.


Sparks & Explosions

The crackling and explosion? of wood in a fire is due to small pockets and bubbles of alcohol produced in the wood. We must pay particular attention to that when it happens.



Even well dried wood can be ruined if it is poorly stored. Wood exposed to rain or snow will reabsorb a large quantity of water. This could also cause the wood to mould and rot. Therefore it must be stored in a way to protect it from bad weather.


Risk of Introduction of Insects

Once colder weather arrives in the fall, one thinks mostly of finding refuge in front of a nice warm fire. That's when it's time to bring the firewood into the house. However, we are not alone in wanted to warm up - insects are also looking for a home. Unfortunately, many choose our firewood, and indeed, many species of insects live under the bark and in the cracks of wood, others are present in the larvae state and thus not visible. When the wood is brought in, the change in temperature encourages the insects to waken. Most insects that are living in wood adapt easily to this new environment, and can cause great damage as well as being a disagreeable nuisance in the house.


Cords of Firewood

When it's time to shop for firewood, we always have a dilemma. The unit of measure used are as numerous as the types of wood. Should we order a cord, a bush cord, a city cord, a face cord, etc... As well, we must worry about whether it is split or needing to be split, is it split into small or large pieces, or if they are logs. What length, what type of wood, maple, beech, birch, oak etc... Each type of wood gives a different calorific value as it burns. Is the wood dry, semi-dry, green? How long ago was it cut. Was it recently split, was it corded or stacked/piled? These are all the questions to ask before buying that will determine whether the output is a good return on our investment.



Upon reception of the firewood, the quality and type of wood received must be verified against the order. It's also very difficult to verify the accuracy of the cord since it arrives in a truck. It requires much hard work since now the wood must be cut and cleaned of dirt.