What You Need to Know When Buying Firewood
Trying to buy logs for your log burner or fireplace can be a minefield – how do you know which firewood is best and how much you need?
Some questions you should ask yourself before you buy firewood are -
- What is my budget?
- How much space do I have to store it?
- When and how often do I want to use it?
- How much effort am I willing to put into getting it ready to burn?
- How important is the environmental impact of my firewood?
Once you’ve answered those questions, here are 7 things you need to consider to make the right choice for you.
MOISTURE CONTENT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT
When burning firewood, it’s vital that you only burn hardwood with a moisture content less than 20%. Burning wet wood is bad for the environment and bad for your appliance due to the levels of smoke, ash and pollutants that it emits.
Wet wood can be bought cheaply, but it will need to be seasoned or kiln-dried before it can be burned. If you want to season the wood yourself, ensure that you have space and time to season it for 1 – 2 years before you need to use it. It should be stored in a covered or dry place, away from the walls and floor, and have sufficient ventilation to allow air to get to the logs, and any moisture to evaporate
For wood that you can burn immediately, you will need to buy properly seasoned or kiln-dried hardwood logs.
The difference between Seasoned v Kiln Dried
Seasoned logs are dried naturally over a period of time.
Depending on the species of wood and the conditions in which they're kept in, seasoned logs can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years to properly dry. They need to be kept in a place with low humidity, off the floor, away from walls and obviously, out of the rain!
Because there are so many factors that affect how dry the logs will get, there is a massive variation in the quality and moisture content you get when you buy seasoned logs.
When we first started buying logs, we tried seasoned logs from a few different suppliers and found that the moisture content varied wildly, with some at the ideal 20% and some at a massive 40%! So we know which suppliers are best and have continued dealing with them.
Kiln-drying means drying the logs in a chamber, or kiln, where the temperature, air circulation and humidity are controlled. This means that the logs can be dried faster, to a more specific moisture content, which is usually below 20%. Whilst kiln-dried logs are often more expensive than seasoned logs, they will burn hotter, last longer and emit less smoke and ash.
To reduce pollutants emitted from firewood, the government's Clean Air Strategy aims to tackle the burning of wood with moisture content higher than 20%, so it looks like kiln drying may even be made mandatory from Feb 2021.
You can check out the government guidelines here
We exclusively use kiln-dried for our logs, and guarantee less than 20% moisture content in all of our firewood.
WEIGHTS CAN BE MISLEADING
In general, firewood companies tend to sell by volume rather than weight, for good reason. When wood is first cut, it can hold up to 60% moisture content which carries a lot of weight! It needs to lose a lot of this water and get to below 20% moisture content, before it’s ready to be used as firewood, either through the process of seasoning or kiln-drying
Generally, the drier the wood, the less it weighs so beware comparing the price of wet or un-properly seasoned wood with kiln-dried wood, because it’s a false economy!
BUYING IN BULK
Buying firewood in bulk is cheaper than buying in smaller quantities, so if you have a large, easily accessible log store, this may be your best option. If not, you’ll need enough space to store them somewhere dry, with good ventilation where they won’t get rained on. There’s no point paying for good quality wood, only to leave it out in the rain and have it absorb moisture before you can get round to using it!
The other consideration around buying in bulk is the work needed to unload it from the pallet or crate into the log store and then taking it from the log store into the house when you want to use it. Some customers prefer to buy manageable quantities that they have the space for and can easily get to when they need it.
We sell firewood in manageable quantities, so you don’t need a huge log store and you don’t need to worry about unloading them in the cold and the rain. We also sell 85kg Barrow bags for those who do want to buy in bulk. We don't supply Dumpy Bags as they're far too large to transport, and majority of our customers prefer the smaller sacks that are easier to manage.
See our range of Firewood here