A piece of wood contains two totally different fuels which burn in quite different ways.
The first parts to burn are the “volatiles”. These are the resins and creosotes which are converted to flammable gases and smoke by the heat of the fire. Volatiles contain almost all of the pollution content of the wood.
The second part of the wood is the ember residue left after the volatiles have been burnt. This is charcoal, and it contains the major part of the heat content of the firewood. Charcoal burns easily and produces little if any pollution emissions.
If your woodfired oven is operating correctly most of the volatiles will burn completely, however, if the fire and the ember bed is not kept hot enough they will not burn completely and exit via the flue as unpleasant chimney smoke pollution.
Take care to operate your fire so that it does not smoke and you will actually gain more heat from your firewood.
BEST WOODS TO USE
Our recommendation when choosing firewood is to select a combination of wood. A softwood (Bluegum is a great choice) to start the fire and get a good hot base, then mix with a medium/hardwood (Blackwattle) to continue an efficient burn and achieve maximum heat output.
Avoid using pine as it contains resins that form creosotes and soot when burnt, over a short span of time these block flue systems.
Order your firewood from a reputable wood supplier and specify a moisture content of not more than 20% by weight, or cut and stack your own firewood at least nine to twelve months in advance of use. Stack it loosely in a well ventilated covered location so that air can circulate through the pile.
DON’T BURN WET WOOD
Wet wood uses most of the heat it produces to dry itself before it can burn and this reduces the oven temperature to below its efficient operating state. Burning wet wood causes excessive fouling inside the flue, requiring more frequent cleaning. To accurately measure moisture content in wood, always split the log and probe the centre with a moisture meter.
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