The Truth about Cheap Firewood

Everyone is looking for cheap firewood. Why wouldn't you? Hey, I know I'm always looking for the best deal whenever buying anything. Lets take a deeper look into the reasons that people sell firewood on the cheap.

The most common reason for cheap firewood.

I hate to break it to you, but firewood is usually cheap because you are buying inferior wood. Most of the time, cheap firewood consists of wood species that do not burn long and hot. Softwoods such as pine and balsam fir are common culprits in the Northeastern US that fit the bill.

It may seem like a good idea when you are saving a hundred bucks, but trust me, you'll regret it when you run out of wood halfway through the winter.

Unless you are only looking for some campfire wood, you're better off paying market value for some good quality hardwood.

Common Sense Ideas to Save a Few Bucks on Firewood

Buy your firewood green.
Purchasing green firewood will save you a significant amount of money in the long run. You'll pay much less than you will for already seasoned wood.

The trick here is always buying your firewood at least a year in advance to allow yourself time to properly season the wood yourself. You'll need to have a good storage plan to make this happen, but it's well worth the effort.

Offer to pick up directly from your supplier
This one probably won't save you a ton of money but every little bit counts, right? Many firewood companies offer free delivery to local areas. If you pick up the wood yourself, they are likely to give you a modest discount.

If you have a pickup truck or a trailer, this could be a good way to save a couple of bucks.

Cut your own wood.
This is the best way to save some serious dough. Provided that you have the trees on your property, have at it. If you have never processed your own firewood before, be sure to check out our section on how to cut your own firewood. That will give you a great starting point to begin processing your own firewood. Plus you'll get the satisfaction of doing it yourself!

Talk to a Local Tree Company or Arborist
If you live in an urban area, many tree companies are willing to give you their wood for free. Of course, most do this in exchange for you taking the wood in a timely manner.

An interesting dichotomy between logging and residential tree work is that loggers get paid for sending wood to the mills, whereas urban tree workers get paid for the service of removing trees. Most of the time, in the urban setting, tree companies incur additional costs to remove large wood that cannot be chipped. If you live in such an area, you could set up an arrangement with an arborist to get the wood that is too large to be chipped.

Wood on Public Land and Right-of-Ways
If you reside in a rural area, this could be a way to score the occasional load of firewood.

I spent a couple of years in Maine working for a tree company that was contracted by the state to remove trees along the roadside. Most of the time the larger wood that could not be chipped was simply left of the side of the road. Occasionally, people would come and grab the wood that same night.

This is a good strategy for the occasional ration of wood, but it's hardly reliable for a steady supply. Be sure to check with your local government before ever removing previously cut wood from public land. In my experience, with roadside Right-of-Ways, it has been acceptable practice but you should always check first.

Recommendation

When buying firewood, it's a smart idea to deal with a reputable company and use some of the above mentioned tips to save a few dollars.

Cheap firewood may seem tempting but it is smarter to pay fair market value and get some high quality firewood. Good Luck!


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