Purchasing fire woods for burning can sounds pretty easy but you need to consider several things before buying the right firewood to fulfil your purpose. Ending up buying wet or large pieces of wood which do not fit your wood burner, or inefficiently burning wood can even cause a dangerous chimney fire due to the creosote deposited by it. Therefore, it is essential to plan, season and store the firewood properly.
You should check the following things while purchasing firewood.
Dryness of the Wood
The basic thing to note in firewood is its dryness or seasoning. Wood that is wet or partially wet does not serve the purpose of burning properly. To check if the wood is dry enough:
- Crack a piece of wood; if its surface feels moist, the wood is not dry enough to burn.
- Dry wood catches fire easily
- Checks or cracks in the wood indicate dryness
- Wood turns white or cream colour to grey or yellow as it dries
- Dry wood weighs lighter than wet wood
Species of Firewood
Species of firewood range from hard wood (longer burning) to soft wood (shorter burning). Their burning ability depends on the wood’s density. Higher density woods are hard woods and include Ironwood, Oak, Hickory, Sugar maple, and Rock elm. While low density woods are softer and include Pine, Poplar, Red maple, Spruce etc.
Quantity and Prices
Cord is the standard unit of measuring firewood and it measures 4ft x 4ft x 8ft. As people require wood in pieces depending on their burner/stove size, many dealers sell wood in pieces of 12 and 20 inches called face cords or stove cords.
To compare prices of firewood in pieces, it is advised that regardless of its length, you must convert to a volume measurement.
Length of the piece of firewood should be according to your burner or stove otherwise it can cause difficulty in loading the appliance and handling. Short pieces of size 14’’ to 18’’ are usually preferred. Wood with consistent lengths is considered good compared to wood which differs in size more than 2 inches.
When buying firewood prefer to take a combination of pieces cut in large and small sizes. The reason is that smaller wood pieces ignite easily than larger pieces while the larger pieces will last longer when burnt. Therefore it’s advised to take wood split in pieces from 3’’ to 6’’ in diameter to burn quickly and last long.
Following are advised:
- Pile the wood in distinct rows in open location where the sun warms it and breezes takes away moisture.
- Avoid stacking green wood closely in an unvented storage area
- Don’t leave firewood on the ground for more than a few days before stacking, it starts to rot
- Cover the top of the pile to save it from rain, but do not cover the sides
Softer wood are ready for burning in fall if stacked properly in spring, while harder wood takes longer maybe a full year to dry properly before burning. Yet there are kiln dried wood available as well which has been dried in kilns to speed up the process.
Take recommendations from friends or neighbours about reliable suppliers such as Premier Firewood Company. If you are not smart enough to deal with the new suppliers you might end up buying inappropriate firewood.
Buy In Person
It’s recommended that you buy personally instead of ordering on the phone so you can check quality, size and prices of the wood you’re buying.
When buying, do check that the firewood is clean as sand or mud makes burning difficult.
Check Volume Don’t forget to measure the wood in order to see if you’re getting the volume you’re paying for.