Firewood Buying and Storing Tips

Fisher Swanson

Buying Firewood

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.

  • Cord: A cord of firewood measures 8 feet long x 4 feet wide x 4 feet tall.
  • Face Cord: A face cord is 8 feet long, 4 feet tall but only as wide as one stack of wood. This is usually about half the size of a cord or less.
  • Rick: A rick is basically a pile, the size can vary quite a bit.
  • Truck Load: The size of a truck load will depend on how large the truck is and whether it's thrown in the truck or stacked.
  • Find Dry (Seasoned) Wood

    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.


    Hardwood Burns Longer

    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.

    Storing Firewood

    Store wood off the ground and protect it from weather.

    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.

    Keep wood away from the house.

    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.


    Try not to store wood for more than a year once it's dried.

    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.

    Bring wood in as you need it.

    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.

    Do you have any more tips to add?

    September 2, 20040 found this helpful

    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.

    ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
    September 15, 20060 found this helpful

    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.

    ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes
    November 2, 20080 found this helpful

    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.

    ReplyWas this helpful?Helpful? Yes

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    Firewood stacked against the side of a house.
    Storing Firewood
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