Fireplace - Quicken Loans Zing BlogLast year, we took on the topic of gas vs. wood-burning fireplaces. In that article, we found that gas fireplaces are a much more convenient option for the casual fireplace user. The one thing that a gas fireplace doesn’t offer is a traditional, rugged winter experience. If you’re the type of person who lives in a cold climate, but you’re a little hesitant to use your wood-burning fireplace – listen up! This article is for you.

Purchasing Wood

If you’re reading this in the Midwest or Northern U.S., chances are you can stop by any hardware or grocery store and buy a bundle of wood. But, like most things, it’s cheaper to buy in bulk. Here are some tips for getting the most out of your firewood-buying experience.

Where to Buy?

Honestly, one of the best places to buy wood in bulk is craigslist.org. Many landscapers, tree nurseries and private sellers use this site to get rid of extra product, and it’s usually very affordable. Some even offer free firewood or free delivery if you do some searching!

What to Buy?

Oak and maple are two of the most abundant tree species in America, and they also make for the best firewood. Both are dense, heavy hardwoods, which create a long, slow burn. Seasoning is also important to consider with these two types of wood. Seasoned wood has been stored and aged in a dry climate for one to two years, and a single log of seasoned wood can burn for hours at a time.

Also, keep seasoning in mind if you’re cutting your own firewood from a downed tree or branch. If the tree was previously dead, the wood could be used after only a few months of seasoning, but if the tree was still “green,” or alive, when it fell down, then that wood should age for at least a year. Also, note that some people do sell freshly cut firewood, but it needs to be seasoned. So if you’re buying firewood for this season, be sure it’s been seasoned.

When seasoning wood, it’s important to do it outside. It’s also important to make sure the wood is stacked evenly, off the ground, and far enough away from a wall so air can circulate around the stack. Lastly, make sure to keep the stack protected by the elements with a tarp.

How Much to Buy?

This is where things get a little confusing. When purchasing firewood, you aren’t ordering from a set number or weight. Firewood comes in a cord, which is a 4’x8’x4’ set of 12-inch logs. Unless you’re really planning in advance or live in an area where you plan on having fires throughout the year, a full cord of wood is too much. The most common way to buy wood is by the face cord, which is a single stack that’s four-feet high and eight-feet wide. One face cord will typically give you enough wood to make one fire per day for two months, so two face cords will usually last the whole winter season.

The main takeaway here is this: When buying firewood to last the entire winter season, get two face cords of seasoned hardwood. If it hasn’t been seasoned previously, do it on your own – outside. Hopefully this helps keep you warm this holiday season!

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