Why Does Firewood Pop: [Spark & Crackle]


Burning a fire in your home’s stove or fireplace can be a real luxury. Once you’ve got everything up and burning, your home is going to be filled with heat and a pleasant aroma. As someone who burns a lot of wood, there is a good chance that you’re familiar with the popping sound. While you’ve probably heard it countless times, you might not realize why it is happening.

Firewood pops because of moisture. If the wood has leftover moisture, there is a good chance that it is going to crack and pop when it is set alight. Sometimes, insects can drill holes through the wood. When this happens, the holes will cause the wood to pop.

Tree damage is another potential cause of the popping. Remember that popping is completely normal. It is not a sign that something could go wrong.

Why Does It Pop

Why Does Firewood Pop

Now that you’ve learned about the holes, it is time to find out precisely why the firewood is going to pop. In basic terms, it has something to do with the combustion gases escaping from the wood.

When the wood is burned, combustible gasses will be released. Some will get stuck in the wood. The holes created by the insects will give the gasses an escape route. As the gas escapes, the fire will emit an audible pop or crack.

This is why you’re going to hear such noises when you burn wood. Add more moisture to the equation and you’re going to have more combustible gasses and far more pops.

Which Firewood Will Pop More

While it is really difficult to say for certain, there are certain wood types that are going to pop more than others. This is generally the case due to the amount of moisture that the wood has. If the wood has a lot of moisture, you can guarantee that it is going to crack and pop more often.

Using a moisture meter is a good choice. This can tell you exactly how much moisture the wood holds. You can find them on Amazon here, Moisture Meter.

If the wood has little moisture, it will not pop as much and it will also be much easier to burn. Wood that is open grain will usually pop more too. This includes poplar, walnut, locust, hickory, ash, and even oak.

Wood That Will Pop Less

Thankfully, there are a few specific types that are going to pop less than others. While there is still a possibility of popping, you’ll want to stick with wood that is soft. For instance, softer birches and maple should do the trick.

If you’re unable to find these types, you should try obtaining maple, cherry, black birch or yellow birch.

Either one of these should help you reduce the amount of popping that you hear when burning your firewood.

Brian Koller

Growing up on a farm in eastern PA, I’ve grown fond of wildlife and the woods and learning about the critters and firewood and everything else in-between. I made this site to share my experiences and knowledge.

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