Tips for buying Firewood

It’s fall and time to make sure that you  have your needed wood supply for this winter.  I often get asked, “Is it all right to burn pine?  I hear that it is not a good wood.”  Needless to say, there are lots of different kinds of wood – pine, birch, cedar, maple, etc.   All of them will create heat when you burn them.  Hardwoods, such as maple or cedar is denser and will put out more BTU’s than the pine native to this area, but, the main criteria for good wood burning is SEASONED wood.  Burning “green” wood can make your woodburning system develop creosote much more rapidly, requiring more maintenance.

Ways to tell that the wood you are getting is seasoned is to look and see if the ends of the  logs have darkened, started to crack and/or the bark is falling away.  Seasoned wood is lighter than “green” wood because the moisture content is much less.  Seasoned wood is not wood that has “been down” for a long time, but wood that has been downed, cut, and split. The seasoning allows the wood to dry out which requires air to flow around the wood after it is split.

Be careful when you are buying firewood to inquire how the dealer measures a cord of wood.  A cord is defined as 4 feet by 4 feet by 8 feet of logs tightly stacked.  Beware of the pickup truckload of wood that doesn’t have at least 3 foot staked sides.  Normally a pickup bed will only hold about 1/2 cord, especially if it is just “heaved” or loaded unevenly in the bed.

Prices can vary greatly, based upon the wood you are buying.  Obviously native wood – pine will be less expensive than hardwoods that will have to be transported from other areas of the country.  It is our recommendation that you check with the Better Business Bureau http://www.bbbsc.org , Angie’s List http://www.angieslist.com , or other recommendation sites about the company you are planning to use.  You can also check the Colorado Secretary of State website to insure they are a legitimate Colorado corporation http://www.sos.state.co.us/ .