"Where can I get firewood for sale near me?" That's a typical web search or question on the lips of many people.
Even as the world continues to develop and embrace cleaner sources of energy, firewood remains a popular source of energy for businesses, institutions, and individuals.
Don't fret. This is a detailed article with information on affordable buying and safe storing of firewood. But let's get started with the basics.
What is Firewood?
The best way to understand the process of buying, storing, and using firewood begins with knowing what firewood is. By definition, firewood is any type of wood that is burnt as fuel.
So, from the stated meaning, all firewood comes from wood. However, not any wood is firewood. The implication of this is that you can’t just throw anything in fire and expect it to burn. Some pieces won't burn when thrown into the fire. Even worse, there are pieces of wood that will prove toxic when put on fire.
The reason why you will need to stay on the lookout is that while campfire or home-fire is pretty enjoyable to bask around, wrong choices of wood will either be disastrous or just inefficient.
So, anyone looking to buy firewood for home or camp needs to get a few facts right before making a purchase. Firstly, what should you avoid? And what type of wood will suit your needs? Of course, there are various types of firewood, as you will learn here.
What You Should Avoid
There is this misconception that any type of wood will burn. In fact, many think that they will easily throw anything in the fire and expect it to burn. Some campers go as far as falling a log and throwing it into the campfire. That should not be the case.
While many types of wood will burn well when dry, many others will either fail to burn or emit harmful gases in the process of burning.
For example, you should avoid burning painted wood, scrap lumber, and pieces of wood Which are pressure-treated. There is arsenic treatment in scrap lumber. There could also be arsenic-based paints or lead. These chemicals release poisonous gases when burnt. So, You have to try avoid using scrap lumber for both outdoor and indoor fires.
Secondly, freshly-cut wood is equally bad because they contain a lot of moisture and sap. Burning such wood will produce a lot of smoke, which is harmful to your health and the environment. Besides, wet wood will also burn inefficiently.
The third category that you should avoid is using oversized logs. The ideal size of firewood should be no more than 5-inches in diameter. Anything more significant than that won't burn properly. Thus, it is perfect to work your wood into the right sizes.
Finally, driftwood is another type of wood that you should avoid. As you probably know, driftwood contains a lot of salt, and burning them is carcinogenic. This is because burning salt-laden materials releases both furans and toxins; hence it should be avoided.
Types of Firewood to Consider for Burning
We believe that you now know what you should not burn. But what can you use to make a fire? Fortunately, there are two types of wood that you may consider for any fire-making applications.
We have softwoods and hardwoods. But what are the differences?
Interestingly, the difference between hardwood and softwood when it comes to firewood applications do not necessarily depend on their hardness. The difference does not also rely on durability.
Instead, the factor of concern here is solely on the density of the wood. Let’s delve more in-depth for the sake of proper understanding.
Look, softwood are incredible options for firewood use. However, they are best for outdoor use. Why would that be the case? Well, while they burn quite efficiently, softwoods emit a considerable amount of smoke. That means that the smoke makes it easier to control outdoors than indoors. They make an incredible choice for campers and other people who want to set up outdoor fires.
The most significant advantage that softwoods have over their hardwood counterparts is that they are much more efficient and quicker to ignite. You will easily find them faster to ignite even in the most challenging conditions, like in wet outdoor conditions.
However, they burn faster and will do well for persons looking for shorter fires. Outdoor cooking or small campfires are perfect situations when softwood will do the work correctly.
Notably, softwoods are also more affordable than hardwoods. So, they are suitable for people looking for firewood but are on a budget.
Some of the most notable options include pine, larch, and cedar. All these woods are ideal for outdoor situations. Pine and cedar stand out as the easiest to ignite while larch boasts of near-hardwood performance.
Apart from the fact that they are considerably expensive, hardwoods come with a lot of merits over softwoods. They burn slowly and produce more heat. But while at that, it is also essential to note that hardwoods also generate less smoke, less, soot, and even less ash.
These features make hardwoods ideal for fires intended for longer durations. They are also great for indoor spaces since they do not emit a lot of smoke. Therefore, if you are looking for firewood for home heating or cooking, then hardwoods are a perfect option.
On the flipside, hardwoods, just like their names suggest, are practically harder to splint into useable pieces. They are also comparatively difficult to ignite. So, you have to be ready to get the splitting and ignition right.
Standard hardwood options that you will most likely find near you include oak, ash, and birch. All of them are incredible options but have different qualities. For example, oak burns slowly and more prolonged, yet considerably affordable. On the other hand, both birch and ash take pride in producing steady flames and consistent heat. These hardwood options are not also too difficult to split and ignite.
Wood Bricks and Wood Pellets
Apart from the natural woods that we just discussed, there are manufactured bricks and pellets that can also produce fire. These humanmade fuels burn for longer and provide consistent heat.
Another advantage that comes with using wood bricks and wood pellets is the ease of use that they are associated with. They are easy to ignite. But more importantly, you do not need to split them as you would do with hardwoods and softwoods. Pellets and bricks come in the right sizes.
Often, wood bricks are made from compression of an even mixture of sawdust and wood chips. They can either take a brick shape or a cylindrical shape. They are efficient and do not emit a lot of smoke.
The manufacturing of wood pellets follows the same process, a compressed mixture of sawdust and wood chips. However, wood pellets are mostly ideal for use in pellet stoves. And just like bricks, they are efficient and don’t produce a lot of smoke.
These options are pretty efficient for general indoor use. However, you will not experience the natural feeling of fire if you opt for either of them. They are, therefore, not an excellent option for outdoor enthusiasts who want to experience the excitement of starting and managing a campfire.
Can You Find Firewood Without Buying?
While good firewood now comes at a price, wood does not have to cost you always. So, if you are lucky enough, then you will easily find free firewood near you.
All you may need is a watchful eye, proper manners, and the right tools or professionalism. You do not need to pay anything, but even if you do, then it could only be the transport costs of the firewood.
While the wood will entirely be free, do you have the permission to take it? Always seek approval. And do not go around your locality or nearby forests cutting down trees in the name of free firewood.
So, what options do people looking for free firewood have?
Look Around Your Locality
The truth is that while you and many others are in dire need for firewood, there several other people in your locality who may have the wood but have no use for it. Don’t you think that some of them would want someone to take it off their hands? Why not ask if you could help dispose of the wood for them?
You can make good use of Facebook Marketplace, the Freecycle Network, and Craigslist, other websites, and social media apps to find people who may have free wood for disposal. Look out for ads from anyone looking to dispose of the broken wood.
You can also post your ads with an inquiry of firewood availability within your locality. Online ads can reach a broader audience. But you can also look out for print ads around your town. In most cases, you will get such wood for free or at very affordable costs.
Look Out for A Burn Pile
The real estate industry continues to expand. There is no doubt about this. So, buildings and other constructions continue to spring up, which means that developers sometimes have to do away with some vegetation. The vegetation will occasionally include sizeable trees.
You can talk with the company or individual coordinating the constructions and offer to remove the wood for them. You can also just request them to give you a few pieces that are enough for the intended purpose.
You will most likely find more than the amount of firewood required. But if you can’t find any, then you can look out for landfills where contractors deposit the wood. You can then dig through the dump and take what you may need. That’s a fantastic way to have free firewood.
Post Storm Clean Up
Trees and branches will always fall whenever there is a storm. Thus, there will be a lot of free wood lying around in cities, towns, and localities. Most homeowners will not haul the tree remains on their own. They’ll probably need an extra hand or someone to get rid of the trees and branches for a pay.
Why not step in and haul off the trees and branches from their gardens, roofs, and fences in exchange for taking useful tree remains home? Indeed, most tree owners wouldn’t want a messy backyard or home, so getting them into this deal wouldn’t be a huge problem.
If you live in a city, then you will equally find broken branches in the streets. While you may not need any permission to clear up the roads and parking lots of the broken branches, you will need to get to the streets as soon as the storm ends as other people too will be eying the broken trees.
Offer Free Trimming Branches
Trimming or pruning trees is one of the essential ways to maintain the backyard. However, not everyone has the expertise, tools, and time to do this. So, if you are looking for free firewood near you, then this is a perfect avenue to get good wood. But this will require you to have the right tools and equipment. You will also need some time and the required expertise.
You can seek permission from relevant persons to help trim trees hovering over houses or branches in exchange for the cut-offs. Even without cutting other people’s trees, you can also trim your trees and get good wood from them. Besides, you can ask the tree trimmers in your locality to allow you to have some wood.
Visit a Sawmill
While sawmills create usable lumber from big logs, they will rarely use the entire tree. You can request sawmill owners or managers to allow you to have gathered up wood scraps and other cut-offs.
Striking such a deal helps you to get firewood. On the other hand, the sawmills could have a perfect chance to reduce their operating costs as they often contract disposal agents to handle these wastes.
Tips to Consider When Buying Firewood
While you may sometimes be lucky to get free firewood through the avenues highlighted above, relying on free wood is a miss or hit. So, you will often find yourself in situations when you need to purchase firewood. So, this section discusses some of the tips to consider when shopping for wood. The essence of this buying guide is to enable you to find the right firewood at the right price.
Let’s begin the countdown!
How much firewood are you looking for? That’s always the first question that comes to the mind of anyone looking for wood to fuel fireplaces.
Interestingly, this question not only determines the amount of firewood that you need to purchase but also affects other factors. For example, it will determine the amount you’d spend on firewood as well as the prospective source of the wood.
If you fuel your fireplace using wood, you will opt to purchase a rack or a couple of racks at a time. You could also cut the wood by yourself or buy a full truckload.
Buying small quantities give you more options on the possible sources. Again, smaller numbers may also not require a substantial budget. But anyone who makes fire often would instead consider purchasing more significant amounts as buying small amounts will keep you looking for firewood now and then. That’s pretty inconvenient.
Besides, you get better deals when you purchase firewood in bulk.
Cords are the SI unit for measuring the volume or amount of marketplace firewood. One cord of wood is equivalent to 128 cubic feet. So, a single cord is a quantity that will easily fit a space of 4 x 4 x 8 feet.
Another popular term that you may meet is a face cord. This is equivalent to about 42.6 cubic feet. And face cord firewood will conveniently fit in an 8’ x 4’ x 16” space approximately about a third of a full cord.
Finally, other measurement terms that you will find include a quarter cord, half cord, or eighth cord. Be sure of the amount of firewood that will meet your objectives.
Source Of Firewood
Once you decide on the amount of firewood that you need, the next thing that comes to mind is the source of the wood. It is essential to consider purchasing firewood that traces its origin within your county or department.
This is often difficult to ascertain. However, it is essential to confirm with the vendor if the firewood that they are selling is cut from within the locality. Can you imagine that some sellers bring wood from hundreds of miles away, or sometimes from outside the country?
But what makes bringing in firewood from far and wide a bad idea? Well, the primary issue with using non-native wood is that you risk importing diseases and bugs into your yard. Firewood should come from a maximum of 50 miles away.
Where To Buy Wood
Where are you going to find the right amount of firewood for the required applications?
Smaller amounts of firewood are pretty easy to find. And you will most probably find them within your locality. In fact, even your nearby grocery vendor will often stock a few cords for anyone looking for small amounts of wood.
Retailers such as Amazon, among others, can also deliver small amounts of firewood on arrangement. You can also look through the local listings for any retailers. Besides, if you are looking for quantities that will fit into your truck or vehicle, you can consider driving to a local retailer to pick up what you need.
But you are not left out if you are looking for large firewood quantities. The first resource that you will probably consider for significant amounts of firewood is http://www.firewoodscout.org/. You can simply enter your ZIP Code in the website and find a firewood dealer near you.
Besides, you can easily procure firewood from USDA APHIS or the Department of Agriculture. Wood from these sources undergoes a treatment against insects and diseases.
The cost of firewood also becomes an essential factor to consider when shopping for wood. And like most products on the market today, the economic recession demands that you strike a perfect balance between the price and quality of what you decide to purchase.
While all types of wood are measured in cords, not all cords will come at the same price tag. The variation will depend on the wood type and quality. Cheap cords have price tags that are as low as $100, while expensive options are priced at more than $200. Most hardwoods come with higher price tags, while softwoods are slightly more affordable.
However, there are exceptions. Cedar, for example, is a softwood that comes at a staggering $220 per cord or sometimes more. The high price tag is because it is nice to burn, produces consistent flame and heat, and releases a pleasant aroma into the surrounding. On the other hand, oak cords are arguably the cheapest since oak is readily available in most localities.
The type of wood that you choose should meet the requirements for the intended applications despite the cost. Don’t spend more when a cheaper cord meets your objectives. At the same time, you shouldn’t go cheap and end up with a cord of wood that won’t fulfill the intended purpose.
Condition of Wood
Wet or freshly-cut wood won’t burn efficiently. Even if you throw them onto your fire, they may burn but with significant amounts of smoke and soot. That’s not good for your health, neither is it good for the environment around you.
Therefore, the condition of the firewood is another aspect that you will need to look out for. Is it wet? When was it cut? Is it well dried?
While freshly cut, wet wood comes cheaper. You won’t be able to use it in that condition. They are a good option for people who stock firewood for long durations before they use it. Keeping them for longer durations will probably get them dry in time for convenient use.
Consider dry wood if you want something to use urgently. Dry wood is easier to ignite and burns efficiently. However, ensure that they are not eaten up by insects as this brings down their quality.
Still on the condition of the wood that you intend to purchase, ensure that the wood in question neither has any paint cover nor has any treatment. Treated wood or wood with paint cover will emit harmful gases into the environment.
Frequently Asked Questions When Buying Firewood
Now, it is essential to tackle some of the most frequent questions that come up when purchasing wood. These are questions that both seasoned and new buyers often ask.
Is Moving Firewood a Bad Idea? And if I Have to Move Firewood, What Type of Wood is Safe for Moving?
Moving wood should be avoided if there are alternatives. This is because every region has an array of tree-lurking diseases and bugs. Interestingly, these bugs and diseases cannot move to other places.
But they can easily move with the wood, and that could bring up new infestations that could end up destroying property and forests in your locality. Thus, you need to source wood within 50 miles of your region.
You can, however, move heat-treated wood if you have to move wood. These are safe to move because they do not have any traces of diseases and insects.
I Have Fallen Wood, Debris, and Brush in My Yard. What Do I Do with Them?
Firstly, you need to note that brush, wood, and debris fallen on your property do not pose any threat to the trees in your yard or the neighborhood. However, you shouldn’t move it too far away.
You can let it rot if you don’t need it. You can also chip it and use it as mulch if that will be of help to you. Moving it to a composting site or public landfill is equally a perfect idea. Even more, you can use it as firewood in your fire pit or stove.
What Do I Do with Firewood I Already Moved from More Than 50 Miles?
It is unfortunate that you already moved firewood. However, you don’t need to fret about it. The best way to handle it now is to burn it and not to transport it back to where you got it from. And you’d better ensure that you do it safely, quickly, and make sure that they burn completely.
You can torch it up in a bonfire. However, if it is not too much, then you can consider using it in your wood stove as fast as you possibly can.
Ensure that you do away with everything, including the leaves, twigs, barks, and other debris from the wood.
I Often Burn My Wood Completely. Is it Okay to Ferry it From Far and Wide?
Indeed, it seems reasonable to bring firewood and burn the entire supply completely. However, it is still not a perfect idea, so the answer is no.
There could be splits or chips from the wood. The wood may also get into contact with the grass and cause an irreparable mess. Always stick to using local wood.
Can I Carry Wood From My Locality to a Camping Site?
Well, you can only carry wood if you will be camping within the neighborhood. But if you will be going several miles away, then it is in order to source wood from the campsite area.
Don’t ignore this and carry wood in the pretext that your area has no pest alerts and quarantines. It takes a very long time to discover pest infestations.
What Is Don’t Move Firewood?
Well, Don’t Move Firewood is a widespread campaign across the United States. It aims at educating masses on the effects of moving wood. The Nature Conservancy’s Forest Health Protection Program runs this campaign.
What is the Number of Pieces in a Single Cord of Firewood?
There is no single answer to this question. Generally, a cord of firewood represents the measurement unit for firewood. It is a large stack of pieces of wood in the form of a rectangle. So, the stack often translates to the cumulative volume of firewood in the stack.
Interestingly, and like you’d expect, it is impossible to put wood pieces in a compact block. The implication of this is that a cord also includes air spaces. So, the number of pieces in a cord will vary from one cord to another.
But you can quickly get a reliable estimate, particularly if all the pieces in the cord are cut to the recommended standard.
By the way, the standard length of usable firewood should always be 16 inches, while the width should be 4 inches. With these measurements, a cord contains between 600 to 700 wood pieces. This number will also depend on whether most of the wood pieces are perfectly straight or crooked. Crooked pieces create more airspaces and take up much of the volume.
What is the Cost of a Cord of Firewood?
The price of a cord of wood will vary depending on several factors. Firstly, it will depend on the type and quality of the wood you are getting. The types of wood that are efficient to burn will cost higher.
When it comes to the type of wood, we often recommend that you look into the properties of the kind of wood that you intend to buy. You need to consider whether it meets your objectives or not. You will probably need to consider how the speed and consistency with which it burns.
Another factor that determines the cost of a cord of wood is availability. There are wood varieties that are in surplus in certain regions. They will cost lower. However, scarce types will often cost higher.
Finally, the price could also vary from one seller to another. You can compare prices from different sellers before you make a purchase.
In a nutshell, the price of a cord will vary from as low as under $100 to as high as more than $200. Just stay on the lookout for the considerations mentioned above.
How Long Does an Entire Cord Last?
This is a common question among people who prefer to wood-heat their homes during winter or other relatively cold seasons. But there’s no single answer to this question because each house comes with its unique heating needs. Climate conditions, too, vary from one region to the other.
Besides, the duration that a cord will last will also depend on how frequently you use it, and the number of pieces in every use. It will also depend on the size of the space you need heating and for how long.
If you understand the heating needs of your house, the better, you can also inquire from the previous owner the number of cords they often used through winter. However, an estimation for a new house in a new region is always tricky.
But one thing you should take note of is that hardwood burns slower and lasts longer. Thanks to the fact that they are considerably denser. So, consider hardwood for long-lasting firewood.
In ordinary situations, a cord should be sufficient to provide enough heating for about four months. However, we recommend that you source more firewood than you may need. You can always store the surplus for the following year.
How Should I Store My Surplus Firewood?
This is another exciting aspect of firewood acquisition and management. Proper storage is ideal because you need to keep your firewood dry all the time.
The trick is to keep them dry since wet firewood doesn’t burn well, and you wouldn’t want to struggle to ignite wet wood in severely wet conditions. The most effective way to store your firewood is in a closed area. Don’t just throw them around in the compound.
If you are buying a cord or more, then you will need to identify an appropriate location in your yard to set up a rack. There are premade racks that you can buy from stores. Again, you can easily construct storage racks on your own.
Ideally, you should store your firewood off the ground, in a covered area, and also ensure sufficient aeration. However, that doesn’t include storing wood inside your home, as they can carry carpenter ants.
I Don’t Want a Lot of Firewood, Where Can I Purchase Moderate Amounts?
Look, you only need to purchase a whole cord of wood or more if you need that. However, most domestic users and occasional campers don’t need that much.
So, where can you get smaller amounts of firewood for domestic use? Firstly, Home Depot and Walmart are excellent options. These retailers often store convenient bundles of wood for small local users.
The stores also offer incredible choices when it comes to size, fire starts, and manufactured options. These are options that come in handy for domestic users.
Is it also possible to purchase small amounts of firewood online? Of course, you can easily order convenient amounts from Amazon and get it delivered to you at home. The quantities aren’t much but will do well for average homeowners.
Buying wood is a complicated task. You will need to know several issues before deciding where to buy from and at what price. But while the process of finding affordable wood is pretty tasking, you will for sure find fantastic sources near you.
All those are aspects that we discuss in this article. Even more, we also emphasize that the process of buying firewood isn’t enough. Instead, you need to keep your wood well to keep them in the best condition.