If you plan to use your fireplace or wood stove this winter, now is the time to pile up on firewood. And, if you know what to look for when buying firewood, you won't be left out in the cold. We are offering you the following tips to help you get the most for your money.
Firewood is often sold by the cord, which measures eight feet long, four feet wide and four feet high. Some sellers may promise a full cord, yet only deliver one-third or one-half of a cord. This is more likely to happen if the wood is just dumped instead of stacked. If you're not familiar with the seller, it may be a good idea to pay to have the wood stacked. That way you can check on the size.
If you do buy the cord, keep in mind that the four-feet wide pieces may be too big for your fireplace or stove. Decide if you want to cut the wood yourself or pay to have someone else do it for you. Or, consider buying a face cord, one-third of a cord, which has smaller pieces of wood.
Look for dry, seasoned wood. It will have cracks and splits in the wood and should have been cut at least six months earlier, preferably a year earlier. Remember, fresh cut wood will not burn efficiently.
If you're buying wood for heating purposes, consider hardwood instead of softwood. Hardwoods include oak, most fruit trees (such as apple and cherry), ash, maple and birch. These generally cost more, but may be well worth it, since they have a greater density and weight and generally give off more heat. Also, consider fruitwoods if you'd like to fill the home with a pleasant aroma.
Softwoods, such as pines, generally leave more ash. They also have a higher moisture content which causes a popping sound when burning.
Burning kiln-dried and construction wood is not recommended for use in a fireplace or stove. These types of wood have a very low moisture level and burn quickly. They also leave greater deposits of creosote, which can cause a buildup of vapors, tar and soot in your chimney or stovepipe.
Before purchasing firewood, agree with the seller on the amount, quality and type of wood being purchased. Pay for the wood in full only after it has been delivered and measures up to the agreed quantity.
Always keep your stovepipes and flue cleaned and in good condition. Make regular inspections for creosote and soot buildup. If you are burning wood with a high moisture content, make your inspections more frequently.
This report is general in nature and not intended as a reliability report on any company, service or product.