Stacking Up Firewood for Winter
firewood season is here, which means questions about purchasing,
burning, storing, and selecting the wood, especially for novice
wood buyers. Firewood can be purchased from dealers and retail stores,
or many people cut their own firewood. The cost of firewood can
vary a great deal. The best practice is to call several suppliers
to compare the cost, based on factors such as quantity, quality
for desired use, delivery, and their willingness to stack the wood.
Quantity is the first starting point for "comparison shopping."
Be sure to find out if the price is based on a cord, face cord,
pickup truck load or some other amount. A cord is a stack approximately
4 ft. high, 4 ft. deep, and 8 ft. long with pieces that are 4 inches
or larger in diameter. A face cord is a less precise standard measurement,
but usually means a stack equal in height and length, but less in
depth compared to a standard cord.
Pickup truck loads can vary the most. Be sure to ask if it is
a full-size or small truck and if it is stacked to the top of the
cab or just to the top of the box. A standard,
full size pickup truck, stacked to the top of the cab, can contain
approximately a cord of wood. To the top of the box, such a truck
can hold approximately 2/3 of a cord. A small-size pickup stacked
to the top of the cab can hold about 1/2 of a cord and to
the top of the box it can hold about 1/3 of a cord.
Quality is also a factor. Different types of wood have different
characteristics, such as amount of heat, length of burn time, aroma,
smoking, sparking, and other differences. Fireplace users often
prefer the aroma and desire less sparking, but are not as concerned
about the heating value. Wood stove or furnace owners look for high
heat energy. Quality considerations also include the age or dryness
of the wood and the internal condition of the firewood pieces, such
as solid or decayed.
When shopping for firewood, also ask if the price includes stacking
as well as delivery. Size of the firewood may also be a factor.
Ideally, the pieces should be pre-cut to a few inches shorter than
the firebox in which it will be burned.
By using some good consumer shopping skills, wood burners can
be successfully prepared for the long winter ahead.
December - January 2003: Stacking Up Firewood
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