Pine is a readily available source of wood for heating. It is used by many homeowners, but it has advantages and disadvantages. If you choose to use pine for heating, you need to be aware of the pros and cons.
One advantage of pine firewood is that it burns rapidly and generates a lot of heat. When it is properly cured, it is lightweight and easy to kindle. In addition, pine timber is widespread and readily available.
Unfortunately, there are more negative than positive aspects of using pine for heating. Even when pine firewood has been cured properly, it will create high levels of creosote in the chimney or stovepipe. This can lead to chimney fires and result in devastating house fires.
Pine has high levels of pitch and especially in wood stoves, when the draft is reduced at night, the cooler temperatures allow creosote to condense on the inside of chimneys and stovepipes. This is unavoidable with pine and will require frequent cleaning by a qualified chimney sweep. In addition, the homeowner should have annual inspections to be sure the system is fully functional and safe.
Because pine burns rapidly, it will require much more firewood to heat the home. This will elevate cost or time expended in securing a steady source of wood. You will also spend more time feeding the fire, removing ashes and cleaning.
If you have a choice, hardwoods such as oak are a better choice. Pine can be used for kindling and to get the fire burning hot and steadily, and then you can feed it with hardwood to keep a safer, hotter fire burning with less work on your part. Hardwood coals will stay hot much longer and when you reduce the draft at night, they will last all night in a wood stove and not require re-kindling in the morning.
Hardwood will last longer and therefore it will require less to carry you through the winter season. It will require less storage space and expense should not be any more, or possibly less than for pine.
If you have a choice, go with hardwood for home heating. If not, be aware of the safety precautions that are required when using pine for heating. You may decide that it is not worth the extra risk to use pine, or at least only use it for kindling fires.
Open fireplaces do not generate as much creosote as wood stoves when burning pine, but still should be checked frequently for build-up. There are chemical additives that can be burned occasionally in the fireplace that will minimize creosote build-up.
If you choose to burn pine for heating, take extra care to avoid complications.