Firewood Burning Properties

Depending on the species of tree you cut, season and burn, the BTU (British Thermal Units) will vary. It is generally recommended to use the hardest woods available in your area for home heating. On the West Coast of Canada the most optimal firewood available for home heating is actually technically considered a soft wood however in the firewood world one might consider it to beĀ  a super wood. Relatively clean burning, Douglas Fir generates between 24-28 million btu’s per cord. In comparison, Cedar which should only be used as kindling or outdoor burning, produces 12-16 million BTU’s.

Firewood BTU’s (British Thermal Units) Chart

Species Relative Heat Easy to Burn Easy to Split Heavy Smoke ? Throw Sparks ? General Rating Aroma Weight of Seasoned Cord-lbs Heat Producd per Cord M Btu
Hardwoods
.
.
Black Ash Med Yes/Fair Yes No No/Few Excel Minim 2,992 19.1
White Ash High Yes/Fair Yes No No/Few Excel Minim 3,689 23.6
Red Oak High Yes/Poor No No No/Few Excel Fair 3,757 24.0
White Oak High Yes No No No Excel . 4,012 25.7
Beech High Yes/Poor Yes No No/Few Excel Minim 3,757 24.0
Blue Beech High Yes/Poor Yes No No/Few Excel Minim 3,890 26.8
.
White Birch Med Yes/Good Yes No No/Mod Excel Minim 3,179 20.3
Grey Birch Med Yes/Good Yes No No/Mod Poor Minim 3,179 20.3
YellowBirch High Yes/Good Yes No No/Mod Excel Minim 3,689 23.6
Paper Birch Med Yes/Good Yes No No/Mod Excel Minim 3,179 20.3
Black Birch High Yes/Good Yes No No/Mod Excel Minim 3,890 26.8
Hickory High Yes/Fair Bad No No/Mod Excel Good 4,327 27.7
HardMaple High Yes Bad No No Excel . . .
.
Pecan High Yes Yes No No Excel . . .
Dogwood High Yes Yes No No Excel . . .
Red or Soft Maple Med Yes No No No Good . 2,924 18.7
Cherry Med Yes/Poor Yes No No/Few Good Excel 3,120 20.0
BlackCherry Med Yes/Poor Yes No No/Few Good Excel 2,880 19.9
Walnut Med Yes Yes No No Good . . .
.
White Elm Med Med/Fair No Med No/None Fair Fair 3,052 19.5
AmericanElm Med Med/Fair No Med No/None Fair Fair 3,052 19.5
Sycamore Med Med No Med No Fair . . .
Gum Med Med No Med No Fair . . .
Aspen Low Yes Yes Med No Fair . 2,295 14.7
.
Basswood Low Yes Yes Med No Fair . 2,108 13.5
Cottonwood Low Yes Yes Med No Fair . 2,108 13.5
Chestnut Low Yes Yes Med Yes Poor . . .
Apple High Poor . . Few Med Excel 4,140 26.5
Hemlock Low . . . Many Fair Good 2,482 15.9
.
BlackLocust High Poor . . None Good Minim 3,890 26.8
Sugar Maple High Poor No . Few Good Good 3,757 24.0
Eastern Hornbeam High . . . . Excel . 4,267 27.3
Hackberry Med . . . . . . 3,247 20.8
Boxelder Low . . . . . . 2,797 17.9
Butternut Low . . . . Poor . 2,100 14.5
.
Softwoods
.
.
Yellow Poplar Low Yes Yes Med Yes Poor . . .
Southern Yellow Pine High/ Low Yes Yes Yes No/Mod Good Good . .
Douglas Fir High Yes Yes Yes No Good . . .
Cypress Med Med Yes Med No Fair . . .
Redwood Med Med Yes Med No Fair . . .
.
White Cedar Med/ Low Yes/Exc Yes Med Some Good Excel 1,913 12.2
Western Red Cedar Med/ Low Yes/Exc Yes Med Yes/Many Good Excel . .
Eastern Red Cedar Med/ Low Yes/Exc Yes Med Yes/Many Good Excel . .
Eastern White Pine Low Med/Exc Yes Med No/Mod Fair Good 2,236 14.3
Western White Pine Low Med/Exc Yes Med No/Mod Fair Good 2,236 14.3
.
Sugar Pine Low Med/Exc Yes Med No/Mod Fair Good . .
Ponderosa Pine Low Med/Exc Yes Med No/Mod Fair Good 2,380 15.2
Tamarack Med Yes Yes Med Yes Fair . 3,247 20.8
Larch Med Yes Yes Med Yes Fair . . .
Spruce Low Yes Yes Med Yes Poor . 2,100 14.5
.
Black Spruce Low . . . . . . 2,482 15.9
Jack Pine Low . . . . . . 2,669 17.1
Norway Pine Low . . . . Fair . 2,669 17.1
Pitch Pine Low . . . . Fair . 2,669 17.1
Balsam Fir Low . . . . Poor . 2,236 14.3
Willow Low . . . . Poor . 2,100 14.5
.
Coals
. one ton per ton
.
Anthracite High No N/A . No Good Fair 2,000 25.4
Bituminous Hi-Volat Med Med N/A . No Med Fair 2,000 22.0
Bituminous Lo-Volat Med Yes N/A . No Med Fair 2,000 28.6
Lignite Low Yes N/A . No Poor Fair 2,000 13.8
Charcoal High Yes N/A . No Poor Fair 2,000 26.0

Most commonly, we carry Douglas Fir as our main species of firewood. If you are looking for species such as Maple, Arbutus or Oak, please email or call us to be placed on our priority list. Thank you.