If you live in an area that doesn’t require the use of firewood in the colder months, chances are you don’t know what a cord of wood is. Technically, cord is the official measurement of firewood. However, different regions define cords differently, and different firewood dealers may have different measurements as well. In a more general term, one full cord is a large amount of firewood. It should have a volume of 128 cubic feet and the following dimensions: 4ft. x 4ft. x 8ft. (height x width x length). In a measurement that large, you’ll get about 85 cubic feet of solid wood, while the rest measure air space between the firewood.
Measuring a Cord of Wood
It’s important to know how to measure wood, so you know that you’re getting your money’s worth. The full cord measurement of 4’ x 4’ x 8’ may be official, but it’s rarely used by dealers to sell firewood. This is because home-heating devices never used four foot pieces. You’ll come across other terminologies such as face cord, stove cord, and furnace cord to describe firewood stacks that are sold for residential use. These firewood stacks are generally 4’ high and 8’ long, but the firewood pieces are generally 16” long, which are a lot shorter than 4’—about a third of a full cord measurement. Before you purchase a cord of wood, see how a full cord is priced in comparison to a face cord. As a general rule of thumb, you should be paying less for a face cord.
Which Wood to Buy
The cost of your cord will also depend on the type of wood that you buy. The best-burning species of wood are more efficient in supplementing heat in homes. Of course, they also typically cost more. The best-burning woods are hardwoods such as oak and maple. They’ll burn longer and cleaner than softwoods. However, if you do need to buy softwoods such as pine and aspen, those are generally available as well. Just be aware that softwoods create creosote in chimneys, which you have to clean out regularly in order to eliminate the risk of fire. In addition, you want to make sure that the woods you buy have been seasoned for at least 6 months. They’ll be a lot drier and will burn more efficiently as well.
Where to Buy a Proper Cord
Make sure you research a reputable firewood dealer before you make an order. Some people could easily go through 5 to 7 cords of firewood each winter season. That amounts to hundreds of dollars just for wood alone. Essentially, anyone who has a chainsaw and a truck can become a dealer, so make sure that you’re ordering firewood from someone who actually runs a proper firewood business. If they know what they’re doing, they should know how to properly measure firewood, how to properly cut them, how to season them, and how stack them just right. If you ever buy wrapped firewood from a general store, remember to air them out for a bit before burning. They’ll have too much moisture initially to burn efficiently.
The Cost of a Cord
The cost of a cord of firewood will depend on a lot of factors. Some of the factors mentioned above include the type of wood you’re using, the size of firewood you’re buying, and essentially where you’re buying your firewood. In addition, you’ll have to consider how far the firewood has to travel to get to you. That will add in to the cost of the entire thing. But in average terms, a full cord of firewood can run you anywhere from $225 to $250. That means that you can spend as much as $1,500 per season on just firewood alone. That’s a lot of money to just keep the heat on, and if you’re using firewood as your main heat component, you might want to start thinking on how to supplement heat more efficiently in your home. If you have to have firewood, make sure that you maximize your usage by keeping your chimney clean. Use only the best firewood; you’ll save more money and have better burning wood at the same time.
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Written by Garrett Parker
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