How Many BTU In A Cord Of Wood?

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As the cold day approaches, using firewood to warm yourself and heat your house is very economical yet effective. This method dates back ages ago, before the invention of the HVAC system.

Now you're up to using firewood as your means of heating system in your home. However, you often wonder how many BTU a cord of wood can produce? Wonder no more! We research this topic, and here's what we found.

The average BTU with a cord of wood is between 17 million to 37 million BTU. Besides, you should fully season your wood before using it to maximize efficiency.

However, determining the exact BTU of a cord of wood will depend on the species of the wood that you're using.

By the end of this article, you'll learn which firewood burns the hottest. We'll also tackle how you dry out your firewood faster. There's so much to learn from this article. So keep on reading!

firewood rack of lumber chopped wood outside. How Many BTU In A Cord Of Wood

Which Firewood Has The Highest BTU Rating?

Some hardwoods refer to tree species that burn hotter and produce more BTUs per cord than other tree species. Some of the hottest hardwoods are frequently found in the western United States.

The following are some hardwoods and their corresponding BTUs per cord:

  • Live Oak - 36.6 BTU
  • Eucalyptus - 34.5 BTU
  • Manzanita - 32.0 BTU
  • Pacific Madrone - 30.9 BTU
  • Dogwood - 30.4 BTU

Here are the best softwood types of firewood and their BTUs per cord:

  • Douglas Fir - 26.5 BTU
  • Western Juniper - 26.4 BTU
  • Western Hemlock - 24.4 BTU
  • Port Orford Cedar - 23.4 BTU
  • Lodgepole Pine - 22.3 BTU

NOTE: The BTU firewood efficiency varies continuously depending on how you correctly seasoned the wood.

Which Wood Burns Hottest And Longest?

The greatest burning woods that will offer you the highest burn and the longest burn period are hardwood trees. This includes trees such as ash, birch, maple, oak, and most fruit trees.

Fireplace with stack of firewood

What's The Difference Between Hardwood And Softwood?

Hardwoods frequently have dark-colored wood and typically have wide leaves. They often have rigid cell walls and greater densities than softwoods. Hardwood species are substantially more numerous than those of softwoods.

In contrast, softwoods are conifers, and their typical leaves resemble needles.

They typically have lighter colors and lesser densities. Softwoods often grow faster than hardwoods, cost less money, are softer, and are simpler to deal with.

Does Wet Wood Take Longer To Burn?

Not every type of wood you may burn easily, especially wet firewood. Wood must possess the qualities, including having a low enough moisture level to burn properly and efficiently in fires.

Wood has a high moisture content by nature, and moisture content can make up a sizable portion of the material. Using a moisture meter, you may determine the moisture content of a recently cut branch or log.

Check out this moisture meter on Amazon.

Below are some of the issues you'll going to face when burning wet wood in your fireplaces:

It Reduces Efficiency

Your heat efficiency is not as effective as it should be. Simply put, wet firewood is less efficient. This is because damp wood will consume a lot of heat to boil off its moisture content.

Furthermore, using firewood with a moisture level above 18% will reduce firewood's efficiency.

Increases Fire Risk

Compared to dry wood, wet wood creates more smoke, which affects the rate of air pollutants within your chimney's flue. Creosote growth in your flue liner is the burning of damp wood in your fireplace.

This will also increase the fire risk due to overheating when creosote blocks the chimney's vent.

Chimney with fire coming out

Possible Health Risks

Using wet wood could also be harmful to your health. As you might think, the smoke coming from wet wood contains toxic gases. The tiny particles, also known as fine particulate matter or PM2.5, are the main threat to your health.

These tiny particles can get inside your respiratory system and could trigger asthma. In addition, once this smoke enters your eyes, this will cause burning eyes, sinus issues, and bronchitis.

What Wood Produces The Most Creosote?

According to an article, hardwood can occasionally emit more creosote than softwood. According to the experiments, dried wood may create more creosote than green or wet wood.

Even though the trials were carried out on closed free-standing stoves with metal flues, the findings apply to any duct that carries wood smoke from a fire.

Close up of firewood splitting on four

How Do You Dry Firewood Quickly?

Freshly cut wood needs to be seasoned. Dry firewood is necessary to keep your fire burning and prevent your stovepipe from clogging, whether you're heating your house or trying to warm yourself while camping.

The following are some methods to dry your firewood faster:

Cut And Split The Wood

Use a machete, bucksaw, or chainsaw to trim branches from the freshly cut trees. It is ideal for cutting wood into lengths that will fit your fireplaces or woodstoves.

The wood should be split and stacked so that air can flow into every layer of the wood. Remember to keep the freshly cut wood away from the ground to avoid moisture buildup.

Utilizing Sunlight Heat

The wood will dry quicker if it is left exposed to the heat from the sunlight and wind. However, it's also best to put an easy-to-fold cover in advance to prevent rain and snow from reaching the wood.

Depending on the weather, you can easily cover and fold the woods with less hassle to dry them even faster.

Utilizing Fireplace Heat

A few days before you need your wood, store a supply of firewood inside your house. Setting aside the wood near your fireplace or woodstove will help the wood to dry much quicker.

Allow the heat to fully penetrate the wood and take turns of the wood every 10 - 15 minutes. This is to evenly spread the heat into the wood, thus dying it even faster.

NOTE: Dying your wood nearby the fireplaces requires keen attention to avoid fire risk in your house!

Where Do You Store Your Firewood?

Unlike fuels, most firewood may be kept securely for a long time without degrading if properly stacked. Get the firewood stacked as soon as possible, but choosing a location for the woodpile is the first choice you'll need to make.

Making it convenient is essential, but try to keep it close to your house, at least 30 feet. It's better not to store your firewood too close to your home because rats and insects like to live in and around stacks of firewood.

covered wood pile with firewood for winter in sunny autumn forest, in the background is thinner stacked wood

How Long Can You Store The Firewood?

You shouldn't have any concerns with mold or rot if you store the firewood outside under good weather conditions. The ideal wood is 1-3 years old because wood older than 5–6 years begins to deteriorate.

It's best to utilize your firewood within this time frame to maximize its efficiency.

Does Wood Dry In The Winter?

You can still dry out your firewood in the winter, but the drying process takes a bit more slowly. In addition, the absence of sunlight as one of the essential elements makes it difficult for your firewood to dry.

Even if the firewood loses some moisture during winter, the process takes much slower than in summer.

How Much Firewood Will You Need This Winter?

One cord of firewood should provide adequate heat for the duration of the long winter in most homes. A perfectly stacked stack of logs 8 feet wide by 4 feet tall by 4 feet deep is known as a full cord.

Generally, one cord of firewood can weigh up to two tons, provided it has been properly dried and seasoned. Therefore, even if you start fires every day, this should be enough to keep your house warm over the winter.

PRO TIPS: Use only high-quality pieces of firewood to ensure that your firewood burns hot and effectively.

Pile of birch firewood outdoors in summer. How Many BTU In A Cord Of Wood

To Finish Up

Learning what's BTU that a cord of firewood can offer will help you determine the kind of wood you need. Furthermore, figuring out the hottest and longest type of wood to burn will also give you significant benefits.

Throughout this article, we've shared how to store your firewood properly. We've also provided you with some best tree species with their highest BTU rate.

We hope that learning all this significant knowledge will help you stay warm during winter with your suitable firewood.

Made it this far? Check out these helpful related posts!

How To Tell If Firewood Is Wet Or Dry

Can Firewood Be Too Old To Burn?

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