I agree with Brim, nothing wrong with burning well cured pine. The only down side is it burns hot and fast, which isn't always bad, plus it can be pretty sappy when splitting.
It's rare to see pine or poplar offered for firewood here too, and when it is, the price is low. On the other hand, there are areas where hardwoods just aren't available, so softwood is the thing that is used. I don't know if there are differences in creosote formation from one softwood to another (spruce, pine fir, etc) but I agree with Bob that a good bright fire is the best way to avoid creosote regardless of wood species.
The problem with using softwood, compared to hardwood, is it takes a lot more wood to get the same btu's. More cutting, splitting, stacking and toting is not a bonus feature with firewood for the DIY or commercial seller. It takes as much machinery, time and work to make up a cord of hardwood as softwood, but it sells for a lot less.
Paying for standing trees (stumpage) is not a big portion of commercial firewood sellers' costs. I think it ranges from $15 to $25 per cord for hardwood if I'm not mistaken.
And the less BTU part is the thing that I have cut it in the past for myself. IT takes just as much effort to cut load and split pine, why not get a higher btu wood. But when the pine is close to the road I will grab it as I have gotten most of the easy oak in my areas. Other folks wont touch it so I can get all I want. But this year I have been trying hard to burn real seasoned wood, oak takes at least 2-3 years split to dry to 20%MC but dead pine I can get there in 3-6 months so I cut about a 1/3 of a cord so that I can have some good dry wood to add to my other hardwood I have. Instead of cutting more oak that wont be anywhere near ready this spring I cut a few smaller loads of pine that I knew would be ready this time of year. Even 2 year old dead oak if not split is nowhere near ready after 6 months. The pine I spit ranges right now from 9-20% mc!
Originally Posted by MotorSeven
That is what I concluded last season after I cleaned my chimney myself. We burned mostly unseasoned wood and my chimney was not a fire hazard. We paid less for the brush and poles than one chimney sweep hire. And sweeping the chimney wasn't hard.
What I'm learning this year is I can burn a lower temp fire with dry wood and not get the house too warm. It takes a hotter fire to burn wet wood without the fire wanting to go out. With outside temps ranging from 35 to 60 degrees this season, we have been able to keep the living room at 72 degrees burning seasoned hardwood. We have burned wood continuously for a month.
You can gain quite a bit of control by varying the amount of wood you put in at each fireing. A fire box half full will last just as long and put out just half the heat. Another thing wood heat newbies often do is split all their wood too fine. The increased surface area exposed to the flames makes the whole load catch right away and burn down too ash that much quicker. Nice when your starting the fire but a hindrance when you want a fire to last all night. Better to have a mix of sizes and to put in a couple of logs that just fit on the pile of coals when you put it to bed.
Originally Posted by vtsnowedin
This is just my second season heating with wood so I'm still learning. During the day we have just been putting one log at a time in the fireplace on top of the existing coals. We have also been keeping the air control all the way down so there is hardly any flame. The logs just smoulder but the fireplace still puts out enough heat to keep the entire house at 72 degrees. I have been filling the fireplace up at night but am wondering if I can get by with putting fewer logs on the fire at night. I do like to put a big fat log on the fire at night so that I have better coals in the morning.