When it comes to choosing firewood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove, it’s essential to consider factors such as burn time, heat output, and overall performance.
With numerous options available, one commonly asked question is whether alder makes for good firewood.
Yes, alder wood can be an excellent choice for firewood due to its notable qualities and characteristics. A high heat and easy lighting experience are guaranteed with alder firewood.
Those who light their appliance for a couple of hours on an evening, struggling to get a fire started, or mixing their firewood with smokeless fuel will benefit from this firewood.
Alder Firewood – All You Need To Know
Burning it is something some people absolutely love and have nothing but positive things to say about it. Others, however, dislike it.
How can alder firewood be used in a fireplace, wood stove, or even an outdoor wood furnace when there are so many different opinions?
There is a lot of controversy surrounding the type of tree people burn as firewood, just like many other species of wood. Depending on where you live geographically, it also varies.
Residents of the northeastern United States, for instance, burn hardwoods like oak, beech, ash and maple as their primary fuel source.
For them, softwoods, like pine, are considered a complete waste of time when it comes to cutting, splitting, and stacking.
The lodgepole pine and the well-known Douglas fir are more popular in the western portion of the United States.
They make great firewood, and hardwoods aren’t available in the area because they are some of the predominant trees in the area.
If you asked a few people what type of firewood they liked best, what would they say? It’s likely that you’ll get a variety of answers.
Here are some characteristics of the alder tree and its firewood before you decide whether to add some to your stack.
|Alder Firewood Properties|
|Weight (per dry cord)||2540 lbs.|
|Seasoning Time||6-8 months|
Once you consider these factors, you’ll know whether you need to burn it this year or if it’s worthwhile cutting, splitting, and stacking it.
Is Alder Good Firewood?
In comparison to oak, ash, and hornbeam woods, alder wood is considered to be a softer hardwood type of firewood.
Firewood that is softer tends to burn more quickly but offers a terrific burning experience; it is quick and easy to light, produces a lot of heat, and has a vibrant flame that’s easy to watch.
Further, Alder firewood emits a pleasant, authentic firewood smell, just as you would expect if you were spending the weekend in a log cabin.
How Does It Burn?
As alder firewood is orange in color, it makes a lovely display firewood next to any wood stove or fireplace. The Alder logs do not require a lot of lighting, like other types of soft firewood.
Add your kindling and a couple of firelighters, then add a couple of alder logs once the kindling is flaming. Those who have trouble starting a fire should try this type of firewood.
Alder is a soft wood, so you’ll use a lot of it quickly. Rather than burning alder strictly by itself, many people burn a firewood mix that includes alder.
When burned, alder gives off a sweet, pleasant aroma, making it one of the most popular woods for fireplaces and campfires.
Good Quality Charcoal
Charcoal made from alder is especially renowned for its quality. The alder tree is great for making charcoal, although not everyone has the time to do so.
The wood of alder can also be used to smoke and flavor meat, especially salmon. Several people find the wood delicious because of its sweet smell and flavor.
Alder firewood’s heat output of 17.5 million BTUs per cord puts it in a respectable range among firewood options.
It can effectively provide the warmth and comfort you desire in your home, allowing you to create a cozy atmosphere during colder months.
What About Smoke?
To burn seasoned alder wood, do not burn green alder wood since it produces a great deal of smoke and ash. The smoke produced by alder, however, will be very small after it has been seasoned.
When using alder indoors exclusively, be mindful of the moderate amount of sparks it produces.
Using Alder As Firewood
If I had to burn alder, I wouldn’t hesitate. You can add it to your firewood supply because it grows rapidly, and it isn’t as dense as other popular hardwoods.
Before using alder wood, make sure you season it and do not attempt to burn wet alder. Ash is left behind by wet alder when it smokes.
Burning alder firewood tends to produce a hot fire with decent coals, but it does so relatively quickly.
In the fall or spring, when outdoor temperatures are moderate, many people choose to burn alder wood. A dense hardwood like oak, maple, or beech can also be mixed with this firewood.
How Hard It Is To Split Alder Wood?
The grain of alder is straight, which makes it easy to split. It cuts fairly easily and doesn’t make a big mess when processed. The outer bark is thin and doesn’t make a big mess when processed.
While splitting alder, you won’t have to deal with knarls or knots because the grain is straight and uniform. A log splitter or an axis will make splitting easy.
It is extremely easy to split alder wood into different sizes due to its loose grain. Logs can be easily turned into kindling from large ones.
Alderwood decays rapidly once split, so make sure you stack it quickly. After splitting alder, many people find the mold and rot to be a problem. Stack alder further apart than other firewood to ensure good airflow between logs.
The tar that builds up inside chimney walls is called creosote, which is a dark brown substance deposited by wood smoke.
In smoke, there are tiny particles of wood and sap that have not been burned. The flammability of creosote makes it extremely dangerous, as it can easily ignite chimney fires.
It is not common for Alder to produce much creosote when seasoned properly. A great deal of charcoal is produced from alder coals. You can make charcoal from alder if you’re interested in bushcraft skills.
A favorite of those who like aromatic firewood, alder has a sweet, pleasant smell when burned.
When stored inside, alder firewood will make your room smell cozy and fragrant even if it is not burned.
As a firewood storage option, red alder is also quite attractive if you choose to place it close to the hearth.
How Does It Compare To Other Firewood?
Alder can indeed be considered good firewood, thanks to its consistent heat output, ease of ignition, clean burn, pleasant aroma, and widespread availability.
Whether you’re looking to heat your home or create a welcoming atmosphere, alder firewood presents itself as a viable option worth considering.
While it may not be the most widely known firewood option, it possesses several advantages that make it a worthwhile contender. Let’s compare alder firewood to other commonly used firewood.
Among firewoods, oak firewood offers the longest burn time due to its density. In comparison to oak, alder burns faster, but is easier to burn, heats the room faster, and has a nice big flame.
Firewood made from Ash burns for longer than firewood made from Alder, since Ash is harder and burns for a longer period of time. The flames from these two types of wood are nice and easy to light. Comparatively, Alder logs are cheaper than Ash logs.
Both alder and birch firewood burn quickly and efficiently, are easy to light, and produce beautiful big flames.
What Is The Seasoning Time For Alder?
In hot, dry climates, alder takes about 6 months to season, while in cooler, damper climates, it takes 12 months. As opposed to being left as logs, split alder will dry out much faster.
When burned prematurely, alder produces a smoky fire that does not produce as much heat as seasoned wood.
Dead alder trees won’t need as much seasoning as those that have been dead for a while. There will be little water left in the wood after it has dried up.
Advantages Of Alder Wood As Firewood
- It is easy to light.
- Heat output is very high.
- The smell of firewood is authentic.
- Burn that looks attractive.
- Compared to Ash, Oak, Birch & Hornbeam, this firewood is cheaper.
Disadvantages Of Alder Wood As Firewood
- Burns faster than oak, ash, and hornbeam.
Can Alder Be Burned In A Fireplace Or Wood Stove?
While alder can be burned in a fireplace or woodstove, it is recommended that you mix alder with other hardwoods to reduce sparks. Mixing alder with wood will extend your fire’s burn time and make it easier to replenish it.
Is It Possible To Burn Alder In A Fire Pit?
Yes, alder works well in a fire pit because it throws a lot of sparks. You can expect a really lovely fire of dark red flames when burning red alder.
What Is The Best Time To Chop Alder For Firewood?
It is advisable to split alder wood into firewood between winter and early spring if possible. Wood seasons faster at this time of year due to the lower moisture content and sap.
The Bottom Line
You should definitely cut up alder, even though it isn’t the best firewood choice available. You will be happy with your decision to burn alder if you make sure the wood is dry before you burn it.