It's always best to shop for firewood before you need it. Sometimes you can find great deals in the spring and summer, before people are thinking about cool weather and warming their home. Good places to find postings of wood for sale are: Your local newspaper's classified ads. Grocery store, church or post office bulletin boards. Signs posted around the neighborhood.
Most firewood is sold in cords, face cords, ricks or truckloads.
It takes 8 to 12 months to dry (season) wood for burning so unless you have wood on hand already you will want to purchase dry wood. Dry wood burns longer, cleaner and produces greater heat. Unseasoned wood creates a potentially dangerous creosote buildup in your chimney.
When shopping around for wood keep in mind that hardwood is going to burn up to twice as long as softwood. So just because a cord of softwood might be cheaper doesn't mean you are getting a good deal. Softwood is effective for kindling or mixing with hardwood but hardwood will burn longer, tends to burn cleaner and will produce more heat. Examples of softwood: Pine, Fir, Cedar. Examples of hardwood: Oak, Ash, Madrona.
You will want to store wood about 4 inches off the ground. Any wood on the ground will collect insects and rot more quickly. You will also want to keep it covered from rain and snow.
Wood against the side of your house could attract wood loving insects like termites who will start nibbling on your house. It also keeps air from circulating around the wood which will help keep it dry.
This isn't a hard and fast rule. You can store dry wood for more than a year but at some point it will start to rot and collect tons of insects. Make sure to use your oldest wood first.
While it's nice to have a lot of wood on hand in the house, you inevitably bring in insects even if you clean off the wood. So don't bring more than a days worth of wood into your home at a time. A wood pile in your house is basically a guest room for little critters.
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Be careful around wood piles, they also attract Snakes! A friend of mine found a Rattler in hers & managed to chase it away. However Rattlers frequently come as mated pairs. Luckily this was not one of those times.
A cord of firewood is 4 feet by 4 feet by 8 feet.Sometimes you can get shorted a cord by unscrupulous wood dealers.This happens more than one thinks.So make sure when the wood is delivered you are getting a full cord.We had that problem in my state and the AttorneyGeneral put out a bulletin through the newspapers and tv to contact them if you were shorted on a cord of wood.
It is best not to burn softwoods, many house fires are caused by softwoods being burnt in the house. Softwoods create more soot and turn to tar. The tar goes up the chimney and sticks to the sides and eventually catches on fire, and there goes the house too.
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