The Warmth of Winter: Finding the Perfect Firewood in Edmonton
As the crisp winds of winter start to make their presence felt in Edmonton, there’s nothing quite like the cozy warmth of a crackling fire to combat the cold. Whether you are planning a weekend getaway to your cabin in the woods or simply want to enjoy a toasty evening at home, the key to a successful winter fire lies in choosing the right firewood.
In this blog, we will explore everything you need to know about finding the perfect firewood in Edmonton to keep your heart burning bright all season long.
Types of Firewood
Depending on the water content and density, firewood can be classified into softwoods and hardwoods. Hardwood is sourced from deciduous trees. It generates more heat and burns more slowly. As such, they are good to heat your home or fuel a wood-burning stove e.g., birch, ash, maple etc. Softwood are conifers and usually better for the outdoors, or for campfires e.g., pine, spruce, tamarack etc. It ignites quickly and usually burns hot and fast due to it’s high sap content.
The most commonly used firewood types in the Edmonton region include:
- Birch: Birch is a popular choice for indoor fireplaces not only because of its cost but in view of its relatively low creosote content. This reduces the risk of chimney fires. Birch is known for its pleasant aroma and quick-burning properties. It works well as a fire starter because of its thin paper-like bark and produces very little smoke.
- Pine: Pine is readily available in Edmonton and burns well, but does not produce the long lasting heat of hardwoods. It is preferred for outdoor use as loud pops and sparking are common due to the sap pockets exploding in this wood while burning. Again, since it can produce a lot of creosote, it would be necessary to clean the chimney regularly if you choose to burn pine indoors.
- Spruce: Spruce wood contains a lot of resin and therefore, it burns hot and quickly with intense flying sparks. It splits easily without the harsh aroma and is a good choice for keeping warm during frigid winter nights.
- Maple: Maple firewood is perfect for fireplaces, bonfires and wood-burning stoves. It is moderately priced and provides a long-lasting and consistent burn. It is a favourite with people who enjoy a steady heat source. On the flip side, since it is very dense and heavy, it tends to be difficult to split and ignite.
- Tamarack; Tamarack (also called larch) is a sort of premium softwood with high density. It provides a long and hot burn. It gives off a pleasant aroma while burning and gives the classic fire feel with popping, crackling, and low smoke. Tamarack burns clean leaving a low to moderate amount of residue and creosote build-up.
- Mixed Hardwoods: A mix of hardwoods, such as ash, cherry and various fruit trees are ideal for long-lasting, high-heat fires. These woods are often more challenging to split but can be well worth the effort.
Sourcing Firewood in Edmonton
Now that you are familiar with different types of firewood, let us find out where you can source quality firewood in Edmonton:
- Firewood Suppliers: Seasoned firewood is offered for sale by local firewood suppliers in Edmonton. They often have a variety of wood types to choose from and can provide you with well-dried, ready-to-burn firewood.
- Online Marketplaces: Websites like The Freecycle Network, Facebook Marketplace, Kijiji and Craigslist can be excellent resources for finding firewood in Edmonton. Many individuals and businesses advertise firewood for sale on these platforms.
- Tree Removal Services: When trees are cut down for safety reasons or due to disease, tree removal services often offer the wood for sale as firewood. It is an environmentally friendly way to source firewood while helping with tree recycling efforts. Again, construction sites are a good place to source free firewood.
- Community Classifieds: Check local community bulletin boards, newsletters, or social media groups for firewood listings. Watch out in heavily trafficked places like the local post office, grocery store – these may be good places to look for advertisements for free firewood or ask locals if they have logs they want to discard. Sometimes, neighbours with surplus firewood may offer it for a reasonable price or even free.
- Self-Logging: Self-logging can be a cost-effective way to obtain firewood in case you have access to wooded areas and the necessary equipment. Do make sure, however, that you adhere to local regulations and obtain the proper permits if required.
It is absolutely essential to protect your firewood from moisture so that it remains dry and ready to burn. Otherwise, it may result in issues like mould & fungus, bug infestations and problems with the moisture levels of the wood.
- Maintain a distance: Ideally, all firewood should be stored around 20 feet away from your house.
- Keep it Covered: Store your firewood in a dry, covered area, such as a woodshed or garage, to protect it from rain and snow. Cover it with a clean tarp to keep it dry and safe and tie it down to secure it. But make sure to leave the sides of your stack open to allow for airflow.
- Elevate the Wood: Keep the wood off the ground to prevent moisture absorption and encourage airflow. Direct exposure to dirt will cause the wood to rot slowly. Surfaces like concrete, asphalt, and clean gravel can be good surfaces for firewood. Wooden pallets or a raised platform also work well for this purpose.
- Stack it Properly: Firewood stacked properly is less likely to have insect or rodent infestation. The wood is also able to dry into good firewood. Stack the wood with good ventilation to allow air to circulate. This helps in drying the wood and preventing mould or rot.
- Use the Old Wood First: Burn the oldest wood first. This rule is called “first-in, first-out.” When stacking wood, put the newest seasoned wood on the bottom and the oldest on top. This method mitigates pests, preventing infestations that typically happen in wood that has been sitting too long in a stack.
In the heart of winter, few things can beat the comfort and ambience of a crackling fire. Finding the perfect firewood in Edmonton is the first step to enjoying cozy evenings indoors or by the campfire. Whether you choose birch for its fragrance or mixed hardwoods for long-lasting heat, Edmonton offers a variety of options to suit your needs. Remember to store your firewood correctly to ensure it is ready to provide warmth and comfort throughout the chilly winter season. Stay warm and enjoy the magic of well-tended firewood in Edmonton!
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best firewood to burn in Alberta?
In Alberta, hardwoods like birch, maple, and ash are highly favoured for their density and slow burn. Birch, known for its bright flames and pleasant aroma, is particularly popular. These hardwoods produce long-lasting, steady heat, making them efficient choices for colder climates like Alberta. They also tend to create less creosote buildup in chimneys compared to softwoods.
What firewood burns the longest and hottest in Alberta?
Among the hardwoods available in Alberta, species like birch, maple, and ash are known for burning long and hot. Birch, in particular, is a favourite due it’s fire starting capabilities as well as it’s clean burn characteristics in Alberta’s winters. These hardwoods tend to provide a longer burn time and higher heat output compared to softer woods.
What is the cleanest firewood to burn in Edmonton?
Hardwoods like birch and maple are considered some of the cleanest options for burning in Edmonton. They produce minimal smoke and creosote buildup, resulting in cleaner fires and reduced chimney maintenance. Choosing well-seasoned hardwoods also contributes to cleaner burning, as they contain less moisture, leading to more efficient combustion and fewer emissions.