When you need affordable fuel — and you have a fireplace — then firewood is a great way to keep your winter fuel bills low.
However, not all types of wood are safe to burn in your indoor fireplace. And there’s a few things you need to look for, when it comes to selecting a clean burning firewood.
So how does Ponderosa Pine wood measure up as a source of good firewood?
Well, in this post, we dive into what makes for safe clean burning firewood. And you’ll also discover how Ponderosa Pine stands up as a safe source of fuel for your home.
This post may contain affiliate links to products that we receive a commission for (at no additional cost to you). Learn more here.
What Type Of Wood Generally Burns The Cleanest?
Good firewood should be dry, first and foremost. After that, it should contain very little tree pitch or sap. And last, but not least, it should not come from a poisonous or otherwise toxic tree species.
Now, when it comes to heat, you will also need firewood to be fairly dense. That is because dense wood burns longer and hotter.
So, with all of this in mind, dense hardwoods like White Oak and Birch wood both make for fantastic firewood.
Related Post: Is Mulberry Tree Wood Good For Firewood?
What About Smoke? How Do You Minimize Smoke Emissions?
When firewood produces a lot of smoke, it is because there is a lot of moisture in that log.
The fire burns the moisture, turning it into steam. And that excessive steam thickens up the smoke. If you want to minimize thick lung clogging smoke emissions, then you need to minimize the moisture content inside firewood.
Now, the way you do this is by allowing firewood to dry before burning it. This is called seasoning wood, and it involves letting firewood dry for a few months.
Related Post: How To Season Wood (7 Tips)
And What Kind Of Wood Should Not Be Burned In A Fireplace?
Avoid using wood from poisonous trees as firewood. The reason for this is simple; the poisonous compounds in those trees can collect in the smoke, fumes, and soot. And those toxic compounds are far too dangerous to have collecting in your home.
In addition to this, you should also avoid using wood that has a lot of sap or tree pitch in it. This is because these wood types, (such as Cedar and Spruce), pose a fire hazard if they are burned in a fireplace with a chimney.
Tree pitch/sap are thick resinous substances that can collect in the soot lining a chimney flue. This can cause chimneys to become backed up, and that can lead to chimney fires.
Related Post: Is Hackberry Tree Wood Good For Firewood?
Okay, But What About Ponderosa Pine Wood? Is It Safe To Burn?
While the needle pines of this tree are toxic, burning the stem of this tree doesn’t pose a toxic risk.
However, there is a significant amount of tree sap saturating Ponderosa Pine lumber. And that sap can clog up your chimney, if you use this timber as firewood.
What’s more, burning sap-saturated firewood can create extra thick smoke emissions. This is due to that tree sap vaporizing in the heat of the fire.
So, between the excess smoke and increased chimney fire risk, Ponderosa Pine should not be used in an indoor fireplace.
Does Ponderosa Pine At Least Produce A Lot Of Heat? Can I Use It In Say A Wood Stove?
Let’s say you were to ignore the potential flue clogging risks of using Ponderosa Pine. Even then, it still doesn’t quite stack up as a great source of fuel. That’s because this particular wood type doesn’t burn for as long as Oak and Birch.
You see, the BTU (British Thermal Unit) rating of wood reflects the amount of heat generated by burning wood.
The BTU measures the amount of energy it takes for fire to consume a piece of material. The more energy it takes, the longer that firewood will burn. And this in turn leads to more heat for your home.
Medium to Low rated BTU firewoods don’t burn for very long, and are little more than good kindling — and are not good sources of fuel.
Nonetheless, when it comes to Ponderosa Pine, this fairly soft timber has a more than decent BTU of 21.7. Yet, when you compare it against White Oaks 25.7 BTU rating, and even Birch’s 23.6 rating, Ponderosa Pine isn’t really that great.
In other words, for a safe clean burning firewood, you are better off simply using Oak or Birch, over Ponderosa Pine.
To Wrap Up, Here Are The 3 Key Takeaways From This Post…
- 1). Good firewood should be dry, and it should contain very little tree sap or pitch.
- 2). Firewood that has a lot of tree sap in it will produce excessive amounts of smoke. Also, that thick resinous sap can also contribute to an increased risk of a chimney fire.
- 3). Ponderosa Pine is unsuitable for a fireplace with a chimney. That is because this particular lumber has a lot of tree sap resin saturating it.
British Thermal Unit | Wikipedia.org
Wood Heating | Forestry.usu.edu
Wood Smoke Awareness | EPA.gov