Softwood for the fireplace?

It seems almost a truism: coniferous wood is not allowed in the fireplace. Why this is only partially true, why hardwood is actually better, and what you have to pay attention when heating with coniferous wood, you will learn in this post.

Suitability of softwood

Basically it is said that softwood leads in the chimney for soot formation and sooting in the chimney. The resin contained in coniferous wood should also inject and produce not only unsightly soiling, but also dangerously splashing embers. All this is only partially true.

When to heat with softwood

Resin remains a problem, lenses can be heavily soiled by the resin and unsightly.

As for sooting and soot formation, that's not quite true. Wood that burns under optimum temperatures and does not linger for long produces - no matter what kind of wood - only little soot formation in the chimney. So you can always put softwood in the fireplace if it can burn quickly - for longer lasting heating at low combustion temperatures, however, it is less well suited. Individual, very resin-rich types of wood produce more and more soot than others.

Calorific value differences

Hardwood has a significant advantage over softwood: it burns more slowly, giving off more heat overall. This is because softwoods usually have a lower mass density than most hardwood species. The following table shows some comparative values:

SpecieskWh per room meterkWh per kg of wood
beech2,100 kWh per room meter4.0 kWh per kg of wood
birch1,900 kWh per room meter4.3 kWh per kg of wood
fir1,400 kWh per room meter4.4 kWh per kg of wood
Spruce1,500 kWh per room meter4.5 kWh per kg of wood
pine1,700 kWh per room meter4.4 kWh per kg of wood

Softwood as kindling

A good idea may be to use softwood as a kindling. It quickly delivers a lot of heat and burns quickly in the beginning. To keep the heat, you can then lay beech logs on the embers. The prerequisite is that you have no problem with possible resin splashes. Very resinous wood, such as pine, should be avoided as much as possible.

price advantage

Softwood is often much cheaper than hardwood. Although the price difference relativizes itself with the shorter burning time, if one heats continuously, however, for occasional firing softwood can nevertheless be worthwhile, if it is not too resin-rich.

Tips & Tricks

Pine used to burn pine wood less often than kindling (the so-called "shavings" were used as a torch instead), but pine cones and pinewood shavings.

Video Board: fireplace burning softwood / snap crackle pop