Checkout Lane: Don’t get burned when buying firewood
Firewood is in abundant supply this winter, which is good news for consumers who want to stock up for their fireplaces. But they still should be cautious about the kinds of wood that they purchase. The types of firewood that are recommended for fireplaces are kiln-dried and seasoned.
For any type of wood to burn, its moisture level has to be below 25 percent, said Maggie Oldfield, co-owner of Thayer Nursery in Milton, Mass.
Thayer sells kiln-dried firewood, which means the wood is baked in a kiln for three days at about 200 degrees to get rid of the moisture, Oldfield said.
“Less water in the wood means you have less smoke, so your fire burns more slowly and your wood is lasting longer,” Oldfield said.
Thayer Nursery sells 128 cubic feet, or a full cord of wood, for $499, and 64 cubic feet, or a half cord, for $399, excluding delivery charges. It doesn’t charge for delivery in Milton and sells firewood through April.
Seasoned wood is cheaper because it air dries for about a year until it reduces its moisture content, said Chris Glynn, owner of Glynn Tree Experts in Hanover, Mass.
He sells a full cord for $295 and a half cord for $200 for deliveries within 15 miles of Hanover.
“Last year there was a shortage,” he said. “But this year we’ve got a real good supply. We probably have about 400 or 500 cord left.”
Both kiln-dried and seasoned firewood should be stored in a covered area, Glynn said.
Consumers should know where the seller stores the wood before they purchase it, he said.
“You should look into whether it is stored on pavement or on dirt,” he said. “We keep our stuff on pavement, so nobody can complain about getting dirt along with their wood.”
Glynn also advises consumers to ensure that the wood is either maple or oak, but not pine. “Pine does burn faster and it’s loaded in sap, which creates creosote,” he said. “That gets in the smoke and can cause a chimney fire.”
Sara Castellanos may be reached email@example.com.
Massachusetts state law requires that, except when dealing with packaged firewood or whole logs, sellers of firewood are required to sell in terms of cubic feet. A “cord” of firewood equals 128 cubic feet when closely stacked.
Buy fully seasoned firewood or split your wood at least six months before use. Keep wood off the ground and covered with plastic, allowing air to circulate freely.
Request the right type of wood. Hard woods, such as maple, oak and cherry, burn longer and cleaner than soft woods, like pine, aspen, and poplar. Soft woods tend to create more creosote in the chimney; if you do not eliminate the creosote regularly, it can become a fire hazard.
Get a receipt. If the firewood is sold and delivered to your house, the seller of the firewood is required to provide a receipt including the seller’s contact information, sale date, type and quantity of wood purchased, and the purchase price.
Stack the wood and measure it before using any. Determine the volume by multiplying the length, width and height – and compare that to what was represented to you on the invoice issued by the firewood seller.
Source: Better Business Bureau