How to Control Fireplace Heat Output to Enjoy Fires in Spring

Every season has its joys and struggles, it seems. In spring, many people fight the same battle to use their fireplace without having to open every window for survival from too much heat. It truly is a pleasure to mix the pleasant cool mornings of spring with the ambiance of winter fires, if you can make it work! The following are some tips for minimizing heat output in your fireplace on nippy spring days.

firewood, hardwood for fireFuel Types

The only fuel to use in a fireplace or wood stove is seasoned hardwood and seasoned softwood. “Seasoned” wood is low in moisture content. The entire reason firewood is stacked and protected from rain is to expose the wood to sunshine and wind that gradually reduces moisture content in the wood. It takes between 6 and 12 months for most wood to dry out. You can take the guesswork out of it by investing in a moisture meter. These instruments measure moisture content in wood and are widely available at many price levels. 

The following is information on how to use the two fuel types in spring as well as winter.


The greater density of hardwoods is why a cord of hardwood weighs much more than a cord of softwood. Hardwood logs produce coals and burn much longer than softwood. As a result, the fires go on for an extended period and are not ideal for days when there is a quick warm-up in the weather. Oak, maple, hickory, beech, and walnut are examples of hardwood.


The best firewood for kindling is softwood because the wood ignites quickly and burns fast, as well. These are good qualities for a spring fire, especially considering the fact that softwoods do not produce coals. Softwood-fueled fires produce fine ash; and once the flames go out, so does the heat. Another pleasant feature of softwoods is that they are resinous, causing crackles and sparks. Fir, redwood, pine, cedar, and spruce are examples of softwoods.

Amount of Fuel

To control heat output, you may need to adjust the size of the fire that you build. Keep your spring fires small so that the flames are fueled for a shorter span of time.

Building the Fire

The following are two examples of building a fire, depending on the type of fire you want.

For fires in spring and fall, you probably want to chase away the chilly air without warming up the home too much. Build a flash fire as follows:

  • Use only softwoods
  • Choose small and medium pieces of firewood
  • Place the firewood loosely so that there is plenty of air around the different branches and logs

For a winter fire that produces lingering heat, build it as follows:

  • Use plenty of hardwood, though it’s good to mix softwoods in, too, since they help keep a hot fire well-stoked.
  • Lay the firewood in a compact manner that prevents much air from getting in between the logs. Minimizing airflow will prevent the logs from burning too fast.

wood burning fireplace installVisit Yankee Doodle for a New Fireplace

Spring is the perfect time for quick-burning fires and for shopping around for a new fireplace or two for your home. Yankee Doodle Stove & Fireplace has a destination showroom where you can look at the modern fireplaces and stoves that provide heat with great efficiency. You can have heating appliances safely installed in just about any space in your home as a way to reduce heating costs in winter. Stop by and visit us in Wilton CT or give us a call at 203-544-8111.