Burning Firewood

Best wood to burn for firewood

The Farmer’s Almanac predicted this would be a harsh winter-and so far it seems they’ve been right. Parts of the country barely get dug out before the next winter storm arrives on their doorstep.

We’ve lived in our house a little over 13 years. In the beginning, we heated with a combination of a kerosene monitor heater upstairs and a wood stove downstairs. After we’d been here several years and were able to afford a heat pump, The Deer Hunter helped one of his buddies install one. Mostly we wanted the pump for the air conditioning it could provide during the summer months, however when heating oil began to rise to unheard of prices it became cheaper to use the heat pump for heat and forgo the monitor heater.

Over the years, we got slack about using the wood stove in the basement. After all-unless you buy the wood-it takes much effort and time to lay in a supply of wood for the winter. It only took the economic downturn to light the proverbial fire under The Deer Hunter to get him back to laying in that supply of wood. For the past 2 winters we’ve returned to using the wood stove in the basement for heat-makes us both wonder why in the world we let it sit cold for those few years.

Our stove is a dandy-it came from Papaw Tony’s basement-it was there when Papaw and The Deer Hunter moved in during the late 80’s. It was handmade by a talented craftsman.

The stove heats wonderfully-and after The Deer Hunter banks the fire and turns the dampers down-it always holds coals for the next morning.

Everyone has preferences when it comes to what kind of wood they like to burn. I’m sure it makes a difference depending on where you live as well. The Deer Hunter likes good seasoned oak and locust the best. But will mix in other woods-like maple and popular. The one he doesn’t like to use much-is pine-cause it is more likely to build up creosote in your chimney.

My favorite thing about using the wood stove: we have wood floors and a type of tile in the bathrooms-I love that it heats the floors from below-and my piggies have a warm floor to walk on.

Do you burn wood?




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  • Reply
    Fireplace Friend
    June 4, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    We moved into our new home which has two fireplaces (one that is double-sided and one in the basement). We were able to enjoy Christmas by a real woodburning fire this past winter with our family. Both of our fireplaces are set up to burn gas, but I don’t like burning gas as much. There are several reasons for this…. I prefer the smell of burning wood over the sick smell of burning gas and I prefer the crackle and popping sounds of real burning wood over the “silent” burn of gas.
    So to answer your question…. yes, I do burn wood and love it!

  • Reply
    chimney liner
    March 8, 2010 at 11:37 am

    Really enjoyed reading your blog post. I will have to bookmark your site for later.

  • Reply
    stove pipe
    February 8, 2010 at 10:54 am

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed. Really a nice post here!

  • Reply
    Chef E
    February 4, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    I miss having a fireplace, even though in Texas we did not really need one, but it was entrancing to sit at night fishing, or at home and watch the embers dance…oh, a poem is comin’ on!
    My granddad used to have a fire burning stove in his work shed, which was in two different locations during my childhood, but I wrote it into a story about them…he always stood with his back side against it…like in that story about the recluse man in the woods you posted ‘backside was hot, but front side freezing’…turn and roast like a hen on a stick! 🙂

  • Reply
    Henrietta Newman
    February 3, 2010 at 2:16 pm

    We so miss our woodstove! If we ever have the opportunity to own instead of rent we are definitely going back to wood heat! I love the cozy warmth and security that comes from that fire box! Especially on snowy winter days when the electric goes out! I used to love making big pots of bean/ham soup on the top of the woodstove, there’s nothing like a dutch oven full that’s simmered all day! MMmm
    We always had wood heat growing up and even coal for a few years when I was quite small, I remember ow dirty that coal pile was!

  • Reply
    February 3, 2010 at 9:55 am

    We don’t have facilities to burn wood now but I remember it fondly as a kid…we burned mostly oak with some maple…my brother and I cut a powerful lot of wood…well, my dad cut it down and we hauled, split and stacked it…seems like we got the bad end of the deal. Anyhow, I too love the incredible warmth it provides…unlike any other type of heat!

  • Reply
    Fishing Guy
    February 2, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    Tipper: When I was a child in PA we heated with coal. It was really hard to keep the temperature under control. It was a great place to cook cubed deer on a long steel rod.

  • Reply
    February 2, 2010 at 1:11 pm

    We’ve got an outdoor water stove that heats our home and our water, so we’re burning wood all year long. It works great when you’re married to a sawmiller!

  • Reply
    February 1, 2010 at 8:25 pm

    No, Tipper, we don’t burn wood. With our big electric bills, I sometimes wish we could.

  • Reply
    February 1, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    Brrr, here in snowy Okla, I have elec baseboard heat, a sleeping bag and very thick socks! lol.
    It’s ok, but I so don’t miss the mess of wood. Oh and the fact that we never had a stove that was really big enough to heat an entire house. You all stay warm.

  • Reply
    Brenda Kay Ledford
    February 1, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    We have an Ashley wood heater in the basement that we use as back-up heat. It really comes in handy when the power goes off. It’s also nice to just build a fire on a cold, winter day to warm up the floor and house. Wood heat is a warm heat and feels so good on cold days.

  • Reply
    Just Jackie
    February 1, 2010 at 12:30 pm

    We use our wood burning stove but have a back up heat pump. The wood stove has saved us lots of money in electric. We got behind chopping wood this summer and it’s been a battle to keep up. Casper refuses to buy a cord this winter. My best memories are from when I was little. As most people in the mountains and foothills, the 40’s and 50’s were as bad a times as now. We kept running out of coal for the furnace and had to stay in a room we called the “back porch” It was an enclosed room and it had a fire place. There was a day bed, a chair and not much else. We stayed out there for as long as it took to get the money together for coal. It was the only time we, as a family, spent a lot of time talking, playing games and just hanging out together. Those were wonderful times.

  • Reply
    February 1, 2010 at 10:49 am

    We have a fireplace. We burn whatever falls in the woods. Except pine. We use that for our outdoor bonfires.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    February 1, 2010 at 8:27 am

    I have electric heat now and used to use a kerosene heater to supplement it. I don’t have the kerosene heater now. My electric heat works pretty good, my house is tight so it doesn’t cost so much.
    Growing up we usually had an oil furnace but I much prefer electric because it is quiet!
    I like visiting your house when the wood heater is going…..love those warm floors!! And since it is in the basement you don’t have the “mess” in the house.
    Stay warm!

  • Reply
    February 1, 2010 at 5:32 am

    We heat with our wood stove exclusively. I really love it. Except it does dry the house out. Nothing a big pot of water can’t fix. we burn what ever is free, except pine, which is usually oak or hickory. I do use pine cones as starter. The part I love is not getting the GIANT power bills.

  • Reply
    January 31, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    We heat with natural gas. I sure would love a wood stove though!

  • Reply
    January 31, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    We heat solely with wood and love the heat that it puts out. We like seasoned oak the best and I also love a little bit of seasoned cedar to add to it and warm up fast! We burn most types of wood, like sweet gum and maple, but, like you, avoid pine, except as an occasional fire-starter.
    You must love having the stove in the basement so that the heat rises and keeps your feet warm~we have wood floors and they are cold most of the time.

  • Reply
    January 31, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    Most of my friends have closed their fireplaces in.I don’t use mine,but,it’s “ready” for hard times!!

  • Reply
    My Carolina Kitchen
    January 31, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    Warm floors – it can’t get any better than that. When my feet are cold, I’m miserable and rely on my faithful
    LL Bean fleece lined slippers.

  • Reply
    julie curtis
    January 31, 2010 at 6:41 pm

    We have a central heat (natural gas) furnace and we have a woodburning fireplace with an insert with a blower. We use both when the temps get below 40 degrees in the daytime; the fireplace keeps the furnace from running too much when it’s real cold here in north Louisiana. This winter we bought a cord of wood and it’s already about one-half gone! It’s been very cold here this winter.

  • Reply
    Patty Hall
    January 31, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    We heat w/ a monitor and electric heat. Not sure which is the cheapest to use anymore. I don’t liek the electric heat. It’ll heat the house but gets cold quick. I remember at one house we lived in during my early teen yrs, we heated w/ a buckstove. Felt so good!

  • Reply
    January 31, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    We burn wood & love it! Yes it does take time to cut split & stack but we don’t start until about the end of Sept. so it’s nice & cool.We all work together & it goes pretty fast. Also, there is no tv, computer, phones etc. so it’s 100% family time. We’ve had the best conversations while dragging brush. It’s building work ethic in the kids & saving us tons of money.
    South Western PA.

  • Reply
    Julie at Elisharose
    January 31, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    We have a fireplace, but unless you are sitting right up next to it, it’s just for show. Cozy looking, but doesn’t provide much heat. Our house is heated with a central gas heater.

  • Reply
    January 31, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    Our home is well over 100 years old. And although it has been totally renovated, including a new heat pump installed this summer, nothing heats it like our woodstove does. We have the heat pump, a large woodstove, and a large pellet stove. Between the pellet stove and the woodstove running, the heat pump rarely kicks on during the cold weather. This is our first season using a pellet stove and I have to say it is very convenient….and warm!

  • Reply
    January 31, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    We burn a fire most nights (and days when I’m home) in our fireplace. We talk constantly of changing out our fireplace (its really not pretty or provides the greatest heat) with a wood stove but I worry about resale value.
    Our plan for this year is to put a woodstove in the basement. Have you priced triple wall pipe? We’re looking at a grand for PIPE alone! It’s depressing. But, it’ll cut that power bill. We’re pushing to getting our basement functional (not finished, functional). Then we’ll put a couch (used) down there and a TV and a wood stove and I imagine we’ll love living down there during the winter! Betwee that, the fireplace and the ever discussed propane heater that we already own, we’ll have plenty of heat!
    Hunter has been a firewood cutting fool. We’ve sold a good deal this year which has really helped out financially!
    We burn hickory and oak mostly. We got lucky with the hickory.

  • Reply
    Will Dixon
    January 31, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    When I was growing up, in the 40’s and 50’s, we had a wood cook stove in the kitchen and a small wood burner in the main room. My job was to split the wood and make kindling for the wood box. We used fir mill ends from the sawmill. No heat in the rest of the house. Believe me it was nippy in the winter without insulation between the wall studs. We did pour sawdust on top of the sheetrock in the ceilings. My father lived in that same house until it burned down in the Fall of 1984. A hot spark went up and out the chimney and ignited the dry moss and shingled roof.

  • Reply
    January 31, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    We heat with natural gas and a few plug in electric heaters. Our chimney was closed off years ago. We get our gas for free because of the several wells located on the property. A good exchange I say. Especially since this winter has prompted the power company to seek a 33% raise in rates. Whew! Who gets 33% pay raises? lol

  • Reply
    Vicki Lane
    January 31, 2010 at 1:15 pm

    We have a monitor heater which we keep set pretty low, an airtight fireplace insert, a woodstove in our bedroom plus a wood-burning cook stove. When the power’s off and it’s really cold, we go to all three wood stoves. Otherwise we rely on the monitor and the fireplace.
    We burn mainly oak and locust. I love the wood heat best but it does make a mess with carrying the wood in and the ashes out.

  • Reply
    Eva Wike, Ph.D.
    January 31, 2010 at 11:43 am

    Tipper: Your WOOD BURNNG stove must create a cozy home! We JUST gave our insert FISHER stove to our neighbor! Then we had gas logs installed in both our upstairs and downstairs fireplaces. They are wonderful with the REMOTE CLICKER – makes me feel exceedingly lazy and lucky!
    Back home in the Matheson Cover in my childhood years, I WAS THE WOOD CARRIER for the cookstove wood. I don’t know why I hated carrying in the wood to cook our meals (11 children!) – and got more spankings from my dear mother, BECAUSE I WOULD CARRY IN ONE STICK OF STOVERWOOD AT A TIME until I ‘got’ her attention! Later in life when we would talk about my stubborn behavior, my mother would just smile and agree I WAS ONE STUBBOORN CHILD!
    Cheers, Eva Nell

  • Reply
    January 31, 2010 at 11:29 am

    Wood has been a major source of heat in our house for almost 30 years. We have a heat pump, but when the temperature falls below freezing, I fire up the wood stove and let the heat pump rest. I burn oak and hickory that I cut and split myself. I do use a little pine for kindling. The old saying about firewood warming you multiple times (when you cut and split it, haul it, and burn it) is correct.

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