People have used firewood for thousands of years for many reasons. In modern days, those reasons haven’t changed, as people still use firewood when to cook and to keep warm when they are camping, or in a fireplace or wood stove.
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There are many great places to find firewood and, as long as you store it correctly, you’ll have a great source of natural, renewable fuel. In this guide, you’ll find everything that you need to know to start getting that fire going.
- 1 What is firewood?
- 2 Which type of firewood is best?
- 3 Where can I find firewood for sale?
- 4 Who delivers firewood near me?
- 5 Which stores sell firewood?
- 6 How much is a cord of wood cost?
- 7 How many pieces of wood in a cord?
- 8 How long does a cord of wood last?
- 9 Where is firewood in stores like Walmart and Home Depot?
- 10 Can I order firewood online from Amazon?
- 11 Where should I store firewood?
- 12 Conclusion
What is firewood?
In its simplest terms, firewood is any wood that you burn as fuel. Of course, there is more to it than that, as the wood needs to be prepared in the right way and there are particular types of wood which are going to be more ideal for burning than others.
People use firewood in-home fireplaces and wood stoves, at campsites or in outdoor fire pits. While, in theory, you can use any wood as fuel, firewood is often cut from particular types of hardwood and then left to completely dry for a long period to provide the hottest, most clean-burning fire.
The drying process can be crucial. Wood that has not been completely dried can be hard to catch, and will hiss and release steam. This, in turn, can cool down the fire and also lead to a larger amount of soot and ash build-up in any chimneys and flues, which you want to avoid.
Commercial firewood is often sold split and cut into lengths which are very easy to add to a fire. It’s a much better idea to use wood which has been specifically prepared as firewood as it’ll mean getting much better results than you otherwise might.
Which type of firewood is best?
With firewood, your main option is burning softwood or hardwood. The difference in these woods isn’t always how hard and durable they are; they get their description from how dense they are.
You can get a softwood which is more durable and harder than some hardwoods, but it’s the density that plays the most important role when you use it for firewood. Denser hardwoods burn for longer, produce less soot and ash, and can generate more heat.
Hardwoods are generally darker in color and grow less quickly. The make-up of hardwoods makes them ideal for long fires which will linger on for quite some time. They are good for cooking and home heating.
The most popular options that you’ll see are oak, birch, and ash. All of them are great options, with oak generally being the cheapest. Oak burns for a long time, with birch and ash being great for producing steady flames for a consistent amount of heat.
Softwood has its place as firewood, but it’s much better for outdoor use. Softwoods tend to emit more smoke than hardwoods, which can be difficult to control indoors.
The positive aspect of softwoods is that they ignite a lot faster so it can be easier to get a fire going in more challenging conditions. They also burn quickly, making softwoods ideal for those who prefer to have shorter fires when cooking and camping outdoors.
The likes of cedar, pine, and larch are all great softwoods which come at an affordable price. Larch is great as it is very hard and can perform like a hardwood, giving you the best of both worlds. Cedar and pine are very easy to ignite, but both should only be used outdoors.
Aside from the natural types of wood, there are other options you will run into. These are manufactured types of firewood that can be used to create long-lasting flames while being extremely easy to use.
You have the option to buy wood bricks, which are generally wood chips and sawdust which have been compressed down into a brick or log shape. They start easily and burn very efficiently and cleanly, making them a great option for fireplaces. You lose the natural feel of a fire, but they are a great option. You will find some compressed logs that have scents added, or that produce flames in many different colors.
Created in a very similar process to wood bricks, wood pellets are another option. These, however, only really work with a pellet stove, so you’d have to purchase that as well. Pellet stoves, with an electric fan to provide air to the fire, burn the pellets very efficiently, and this makes pellets a great option for home heating.
As well as knowing what types of firewood you can use, it’s also important to note which types you should avoid. There is a misconception that you can throw any type of wood on a fire: using the wrong type can lead to serious consequences.
Avoid freshly-cut wood, especially if you are burning indoors. It will contain a lot of sap and moisture which will produce a huge amount of smoke. It will also burn ineffectively, which is why the drying out process of firewood is so important.
There is also the temptation to throw scrap lumber, bits of pressure-treated wood or painted wood onto a fire. It might burn well, but such wood can often be treated with arsenic or have a layer of lead-based paint or other chemicals which will release toxins into the air as it burns.
Even driftwood is a bad idea as its salt content has been proven to be carcinogenic when burned.
Another obvious precaution is to avoid throwing big logs onto the fire. Anything more than around five inches in diameter isn’t going to burn at all well or efficiently. Don’t get lazy with your logs and make sure that they are cut properly.
Where can I find firewood for sale?
The first question that you need to ask yourself is how much firewood do you need. This will determine where you’d be able to get your firewood. If you’re not looking for a large quantity of wood then you will have more options available; even your regular grocery store may sell small bundles of wood suitable for a small fire.
Large amounts of wood are measured in cords. A cord is the wood that fits in an area 4’ x 4’ x 8’, or 128 cubit feet of wood. If you are looking for cords of wood then you’re going to need to look for specialist companies in your area. There are plenty that would be able to deliver straight to your home and help to make the process as simple as possible.
Who delivers firewood near me?
Selling large quantities of firewood is usually done on a local basis. The same person who cuts the wood also delivers it to you, so there will be a limit to how far that person will want to drive. You’ll need to find a local dealer and there are plenty of ways to do that. One brilliant resource for the United States is http://www.firewoodscout.org/ where you’ll be able to put in your zip code and find your nearest dealer.
If you need smaller amounts you can even get deliveries from Amazon and one of the other major retailers. If you don’t need a large quantity of firewood, then you can simply drive up to your nearest store that stocks firewood and put it in the back of your vehicle.
Which stores sell firewood?
As we mentioned, if you want large quantities of firewood then it’s a good idea to use the link above to find a retailer. Aside from that, there are plenty of stores such as Walmart and Home Depot which will give you a nice range of solutions.
Away from the large stores, you will also find that many local shops that sell smaller quantities of firewood. It’s a good idea to check local listings or ask around as this might be the most convenient solution, especially in rural areas where the needs are great but large stores are harder to find.
How much is a cord of wood cost?
The price of a cord of wood will depend on the type of wood that you are getting. Some woods burn a lot better than others, and some types will be more plentiful in your area. Costs can vary and therefore it’s good to work out the type of wood that matches your needs and that you can afford.
Oak is often the cheapest cord that you’ll be able to get as it is usually very plentiful. You can get this in many areas for a little over $100 up to around $130 depending on the seller. It burns very well and therefore it’s very popular for firewood.
Birch and Ash are great woods as they burn very well on their own. They will be around $175-$200 per cord. These woods aren’t as plentiful as oak and burn in a different way, hence the increased price tag.
Softwoods like pine and larch will often be around $150-$160 in price. These burn fast and are easy to light. They are great to use outdoors and make perfect fire starters if you happen to want a mix of wood.
Cedar is one of the most expensive softwoods that you can buy at around $220 per cord and up. That’s partly due to it being a very nice wood to burn. The flame burns for a long time and does so with that cracking sound. It also gives off a nice aroma, too.
There are other types of firewood available but these are the most common options. The cheapest cords will come in at a little over $100 while the most expensive options could be well over $200. The right one for you depends on where you’ll be burning and what features you want.
How many pieces of wood in a cord?
A cord is a unit of measurement that is used specifically for firewood. It describes a large rectangle which measures 8 feet long with a width and height of 4 feet.
The exact number of pieces of firewood will change from one cord the next. However, it’s fairly easy to get a good estimate. When cut to a length of 16” and a width of 4”, which is more or less standard, you will get between 600 and 700 pieces of wood per cord.
This can change from one seller to the next, but as firewood is sold by volume, you always know that you’ll be getting a very similar amount of wood.
How long does a cord of wood last?
Just as determining the number of pieces you’d get in a cord of wood is difficult, the same can be said for how long it a cord will last. This depends on a wide range of factors and one cord might end up lasting a lot longer than another.
You still need to come up with an answer to be able to know how much to buy, especially if this will be your heat for the winter months. You don’t want to run out of firewood in January!
If you are moving into a wood-heated house, the previous owner should be able to give you an estimate of how many cords of wood you’ll need. If you are installing a wood stove or wood-burning furnace for the first time, estimating can get a little tricky. Check with neighbors who burn wood, as they are dealing with the same climate conditions you are.
It’s always a good idea to get more than you think you need. Playing it safe is the way to go when it comes to firewood, and the wood you don’t burn this year is the start of your supply for the next year.
As we mentioned previously, hardwood is denser than softwood and therefore there’s a good chance it will last for a lot longer. If you want a cord to last for as long as possible then it’s a good idea to buy a hardwood cord.
For heating a small house, a cord should be able to last around four months. For much bigger houses, or older homes with poor insulation, you will go through cords more quickly. For large houses with high heating needs, it could be that a cord will only last for a couple of weeks.
All of this depends on how often you are burning wood, for how long, how big the space is that you are heating, how hot you want the fire and what type of wood you use. All these variables make a definitive answer almost impossible. You need to answer all of these questions using your circumstances to get a good answer.
If you have space to do it, it’s a good idea to store a few more cords than you might actually need. Once you have gone through a winter’s firewood, then you’ll be able to have a much more solid idea of your needs for future years.
Where is firewood in stores like Walmart and Home Depot?
If your firewood needs are a lot less than a cord, getting store-bought firewood is always a good option. The major retailers such as Walmart and Home Depot will usually store bundles of logs which are ideal for small domestic needs.
The firewood sections of these stores will also have other options such as manufactured logs and fire starters. These can be great for smaller needs but are much more expensive than buying cords when compared to equal volume.
Can I order firewood online from Amazon?
As with the large retail stores, there are plenty of options to buy firewood but it comes in much smaller quantities than you can find elsewhere. It could be that you don’t need anything close to a cord and buying in smaller quantities makes sense.
There are many great options on Amazon which include traditional kiln-dried logs as well as more manufactured logs. What you don’t tend to find are the vast quantities you would need to heat your whole home, as opposed to the occasional cookout fire.
Where should I store firewood?
The rules for storing firewood are fairly simple but absolutely vital. Moist wood will burn ineffectively and be very hard to light. You don’t want to have to wait around for the logs to dry again before you can use them.
You need to scout for a location near your home to set up storage racks. You can build racks yourself or buy commercially-made racks online or at your local hardware store. There are also traditional (and quite beautiful) stacking methods that look like giant beehives or other shapes. The three key things that you want to make sure of are that the firewood is covered, that there is good air flow through the stacks, and that the wood is off the ground.
It’s not recommended that you store firewood inside of your home for long periods as critters such as termites and carpenter ants could be within the wood. Storing the wood in a well-ventilated shed would be a much more effective solution.
The most important point is to keep the logs dry. Stacking the wood and covering the stacks with tarps is usually the quickest and lowest-cost solution. Keeping the wood off the ground will prevent moisture soaking into the firewood from below.
Whether your needs are large or small, there are plenty of great places where you’re going to be able to buy firewood. Whatever your needs are, you want to make sure that you get enough for your needs and store it in a dry environment until it’s ready to use.