Is pine firewood a good choice? Well, it depends on what you plan on using it for.
Pine is a softwood that is very sappy and full of resin. A major concern for most people when burning pine is the chance for creosote buildup inside the chimney.
Creosote is a dangerous buildup inside the chimney that can create a devastating chimney fire.
Creosote can form from cool unburnt gases that adhere to the inside of the chimney. If these unburnt deposits catch fire, the result is a chimney fire.
Creosote forms from a cool, damp fire. It's the way the fire burns that creates creosote, not necessarily the type of wood.
Any wood you use should be seasoned to produce a hot, clean burning fire. With that being said, most people will not use pine for indoor firewood due to the high resin and fear of creosote build up.
So what exactly is a pine tree? Here are a few common features.
These are about 115 different types of pine trees. They are evergreen trees that generally like acidic, well drained soils. Pine trees grow well in sand and can be used to prevent soil erosion in sandy conditions. They are relatively hardy trees that have a long lifespan, ranging from 100-1,000 years.
Pine trees have long slender needles that commonly grow in clusters. They have a very distinctive "pine" smell and keep their needles year round.
The pine tree can produce a nice windbreak during the winter, but the tree can buildup with snow and the soft wood can snap under high winds and the excess weight of the snow.
A very distinctive feature of the pine tree that most children enjoy is the pine cone. The cones contain the seeds of tree, but the cone is commonly used in craft projects and creative play.
Pine trees are logged for their desirable lumber. The lumber can be used for flooring, construction and furniture.
Most pine trees are planted in stands where numerous trees are closely panted in rows. This encourages the trees to grow tall and straight with only a few branches towards the top of the trees.
If the wood is split into kindling, a small amount of pine can be used to start a fire. However, due to the characteristics of the wood, I can not recommend pine firewood for indoor use. But that doesn't mean you can't use the wood...
I commonly burn seasoned red pine in an outdoor wood furnace. I mix a little wood in the furnace here and there. The seasoned wood is relatively light and pops and crackles a lot (which is another good reason not to burn it indoors).
If you don't have an outdoor wood furnace and you don't want to use the wood for kindling, pine can be a great firewood for bon fires or just the occasional camp fire. The wood is easy to light, burns quickly and smells great.