No matter which way you cut it, fresh wood just doesn't burn right.
Fresh cut wood has a high moisture content, which makes it hard to get burning. It also gives off more smoke.
Worse yet, unseasoned wood is a major contributor to creosote buildup in chimneys, which leads to chimney fires.
To keep your chimney cleaner and your home smelling less like a campfire, you must learn to properly age your firewood.
Aging, or seasoning, your firewood makes it lighter to carry, cleaner burning, easier to ignite, and safer for your chimney.
Choosing a Good Wood
While you may not always have the luxury of choosing what wood to use, there are some options that provide better results.
For example, oak is a very good choice for wood burning furnaces, because it's dense and it burns hot. But you should season oak for at least a year before using it.
If you're choosing from trees on a wooded lot, cut down the trees that are crowding other trees from growing. Thinning out a crowded area will allow more sun and nutrients for the remaining trees.
Never use wood from a dead or diseased tree as it'll burn poorly. Consider odd, crooked-growing trees that may cause problems. Removing them may benefit the surrounding trees, and the wood may be just fine for burning.