A popular alternative heating source for many homeowners is a wood burning stove or fireplace. To get the most heat and least amount of creosote, use properly seasoned hardwoods. For seasoning soft woods such as Fir or Pine, one year is a good guideline. For hardwoods, especially Oaks, one year may not be enough for a nice hot and clean burn.
When seasoning your wood, do not cover it with a tarp; this will prevent evaporation. Use a shed or wood crib. The tree species with denser wood have a higher BTU (available heat) content. The Shagbark Hickory is towards the top of the list with 27.7, Black Birch is 26.8, White Oak is 25.7 and Sugar Maple is 24 MBTU’s per cord.
Remember to take proper precautions and maintain your stove or fireplace to minimize risk to your family and home. Be sure to perform a pre-season inspection with a professional chimney sweep; then load the logs and enjoy your fire!