Wood is wood right? Wrong. Having a fireplace or home stove installed doesn’t mean you can now fill it with any wood you can lay your hands on in order to cheaply heat your home.

There are a lot of woods out there which are very poor burners. They may either have a very low density, meaning they burn up quickly without creating much heat; they can produce lots of smoke and ash or they may retain lots of water, making them difficult to light.

We recently looked at the best woods to burn in your home fires, but what are the woods you should look to avoid?

Alder – Avoid this wood as it will simply be a complete waste of money. The fire it produces is very low heat and lasts for a very short amount of time. If you’re trying to heat your home with Alder, you’ll be waiting a long time.

Chestnut – This wood is common for furniture design due to its sturdy nature and appealing aesthetic, but in a fire this wood produces a small flame with a very low heat. Not to mention, it is expensive wood, so you’ll be splashing out a lot of cash for some very poor firewood.

Douglas Fir – As well as producing a very small flame with a low heat output, this wood comes with the added drawback of producing sap deposits in your stoves that can cause damage.

Elder – Another waste of time and money: small flame, low heat output -everything you don’t want from your fire.

Eucalyptus – Although it produces a lot of heat, it is near impossible to dry eucalyptus because it has a very efficient moisture retention. It takes around 2 years to get the wood dry enough for suitable burning.

Holly – Burns very quickly and produces little heat in the meantime. It has some positives though, it will burn in dry and wet conditions, so it is very easy to start a fire in a pinch.

Laburnum – Do not use in a fire at any point as it produces acrid, thick smoke even on small fires.

More advice can be found at your local coal merchants and firewood providers.