Are pine trees and pine wood as good as other firewood?

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Thanks for the field report. Always good to hear from folks who have on the spot knowledge. And, sounds like you know your firewoods.
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"mm" wrote

Not an optimal design if you plan to not have a professional company clean it then. Hard to do yourself. But I note later your usage levels are very low. If you are only using that fireplace 2-10 times a year, it will take a very LONG time for pine to be a problem.

I am not sure but if it were me, I'd ask my local chimney fellows if it was just a shift in heat or going to cause a problem to any seams just to be sure.
I suspect, it is like 'big ben', the stove we had in Florida that as it hit 250F, would make a big 'boom' sound but was safe to use. It would do the same on the way down to 250F but less noisy. Probably safe.

You can burn pine, but it leaves more residue than hardwood even if cured. Cleaning more often is highly recommended if using pine. Example: at my usage levels I would need cleaning probably monthly, maybe be able to get away safely with every 6 weeks. With cured hardwood, I can safely go 12 weeks easy.
An OP responded that up north they do burn pine (lack of hardwood) and that the hardwood vs pine is a wives tale. Check it out with some google. The difference is how often you have to have the fireplace cleaned to keep it safe. At your usage, probably every 3 years easy if burning pine.
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cshenk wrote:

Seasoned to 20% moisture, a cord of southern pine weighs more and has more BTUs than a cord of red maple or elm. It has almost as much heat as sugar maple.
Pine doesn't produce coals very well and tends to make a lot of smoke. The two are connected. If you bake wood hot enough to drive off the smoke, you are left with charcoal. If there's less charcoal, there must be more smoke.
A flame is burning smoke. Complete combustion produces water vapor and carbon dioxide. Creosote is what condenses from unburned smoke.
I haven't burned much pine, but I knew a farmer in Vermont who preferred it for his kitchen stove. Pine ignites easily and burns intensely, so he didn't have to wait long to start cooking. His way of life was so clean, aesthetic, and efficient that I'm sure he wouldn't have used pine if it left creosote.
All wood produces smoke when heated. A smoke fire is harder to manage than a charcoal fire. The hotter a smoke fire gets, the faster smoke is produced. With enough air and wood, the fire could get hot enough to ruin the stove. If you simply restrict the air to control the fire, you can get unburned smoke, causing pollution, creosote, and waste. If you control the fire by restricting the amount of fuel, you can have a temperamental fire and unburned smoke due to low firebox temperatures.
In NC, my BIL bought an 800-sqft farmhouse and installed a small wood stove. He built a 1000-sqft addition and installed a larger stove on that side.
Because he had a solar unit, most of the wood burning occurred in about 12 weeks. He'd clean chimneys before and during the season, and still he had chimney fires. What's more, his family would be cold when they got ready for work or school because his fires didn't last long after he went to bed.
He had worse luck with the big stove, so he swapped, using the little stove in the big part of the house, where his family ate and slept. I went to work for him and moved into the old part of the house, with the stove he disliked. I found that I could use that stove to keep the place warm all night. He didn't check my chimney until the end of the first heating season. To his amazement, there was no creosote.
I recognized the difference between burning charcoal and burning smoke. The first phase burns smoke. The amount of air hitting the coals helps determine how fast smoke is produced. By regulating the upper and lower vents, I could supply enough upper air for the flames to burn the smoke cleanly, while by regulating the lower air I could regulate how fast the coals smoked the wood.
Regulating the two vents also allowed me to burn smoke during the day while accumulating coals to burn all night. It helps to keep the firebox hot enough to burn smoke well but not so hot that smoke is produced too fast. When I had flames in the stove, I found that an external temperature of 350 - 500 F worked pretty well.
I also used flashing to make an inverted cone for the top of the flue. Like the nozzle of a fire hose, it increased exit velocity. This kept cold air out of my flue. This meant a more consistent draft and less likelihood that smoke would condense in the flue.
I also liked bring wood in from the shed and stack it near the stove several days before I used it, so the heat would make it as dry as possible. Water vapor tends to suffocate a fire, so drier wood means more complete combustion and less creosote.
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If you live in Canada and buy firewood, this site is one that you should read to avoid being ripped off: http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/mc-mc.nsf/eng/lm03963.html
Other useful information on firewood can be obtained here: http://www.ec.gc.ca/cleanair-airpur/Firewood-WS20C62F35-1_En.htm
Ron
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Worn Out Retread wrote:

I wonder why they say wood that has been cut more than three years will be difficult to burn.
I can see why the say big pieces don't burn as cleanly as small pieces. If you split some of your 6" logs, the split pieces will season down to 20% moisture faster.
If they're all equally dry, when a 10-pound log is heated to boiling, it will release its 2 pounds of water vapor pretty fast. The water vapor will tend to smother the fire, causing incomplete burning. If you put in four 2.5-pound pieces, there will be less water vapor smothering the fire.
http://www.ec.gc.ca/cleanair-airpur/Wood_Heating_Tips-WS05A0E258-1_En.htm This page says, "Burn the fire hot and refuel more often with smaller loads. Keep the flame lively and bright."
I agree, and if the draft is right, this can generate a lot of coals, enough to provide heat for hours or even more than a day.
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wrote:

Is there any reason to close the damper during the warm months? I don't use AC, but even if I did, I don't think there is a reason to.
My damper hasn't been working easily for the last year. I have to bend some rod to fix it, or whatever, but until I do, do I need to shut it during the summer?
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"mm" wrote

Kinda depends on design there. If you have a good 'cap' which is screened well enough to keep out bugs, birds, and bats then you should be ok.
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cshenk wrote:

evening.
Suppose at bedtime the air it's 65F outside and 80F inside. You open the windows but nothing much happens because there's no breeze. If the chimney is filled with hot air, that can create a draft, drawing cool air in the windows.
If the chimney was exposed to the sun during the day, it may be hotter than 80F. If cool air spills into the chimney, that will spoil the draft. One solution is to put an inverted funnel on top so serve as a sort of nozzle. Stacks on ships with boilers have traditionally been tapered for the same reason.
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I used to use a little pine to start a fire, some fat lightered splinters with a small piece of pine to get things started easy. I still do this on campfires that I dont plan to cook on.
Jimmie
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On Tue, 19 May 2009 18:52:08 -0700 (PDT), JIMMIE

Fat lightered splinters were near the stove, in a bucket. One match to light the splinter and FIRE!
Fat lightered stumps burn for days in the ground...
I still love it when I cut a 2X4 and the resin smell is strong. Reminds of years ago.
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Burn the pine. It is 'only' a part of one tree. It will not do damage like burning cord after cord might.
Thomas.
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And what "damage" might that be? Not more old wives tales I hope.
Harry K
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