How to buy firewood

There are a number of ways you can get hold of your firewood.

You can use a local firewood merchant, or you can buy wood in the round and split and store it yourself - it all depends on how much time you have, what sort of place you live in and how handy you are with an axe!



So let's talk about buying from a firewood merchant, here are some golden rules;

  • Make friends with your firewood supplier! The best way to ensure you have good quality, dry firewood when you need it is to find a local supplier that you can get to know and who will also get to know what you prefer to buy and when
  • Get to know your firewood and what it is you are buying - click here for some useful  information on what to look for and to ask your supplier about;

Is it dry or seasoned? This means that the cut wood should have been stacked to allow the moisture it contains to reduce to approximately 25%. To get a clue as to whether its dry;

knock two pieces together to see if there is a 'hollow' ringing sound - check out the podcast, which will soon be available on this site, to hear what that sounds like

check the ends of the cut pieces to see if they look 'old' and greying and have radial lines of splitting 

(another good sign is if the barks comes off easily)


ask your supplier when it was felled and how long it has been stacked since it was split - see this page for more about how long to season

  • know what you're getting - a trailer load can mean anything depending on the size of the trailer. As a general rule a 1 cubic metre of firewood is equal to 2.5 cubic metres of loosely piled and 1.75 cubic metres of stacked firewood

There is now a quality standard for firewood 'The Solid Biomass Assurance Scheme' run by HETAS and here is a handy leaflet with information about moisture content and choosing firewood. 

If you have the space to stack and store, buy your firewood in the summer!  This means that you can get good quantities, you can buy it green (freshly felled/split) and season it yourself. It also helps your firewood supplier stay in business and prevents shortages by everyone ordering firewood at once.  Firewood isn't like buying oil - it's a relationship with the land and needs planning but the rewards are well worth it. There is something intensely satisfying about stacking firewood on a late summer's day knowing how cosy and warm it will keep you during the winter.

Click here for a more technical guide to moisture content in firewood and here for a guide to choosing and drying logs.

You can also buy wood in the round (un-split)

If you have access to our own woodland or can come to an arrangement with a local farmer who might have small woodlands on his land, this is a cost effective way to heat your home. But you need to be prepared to put in the work!

There are a few ways you can source your own wood;

  • Buy a trailer load from a forestry contractor or from the forestry commission - this is usually priced 'trackside' in the forest but you may also get a 'delivered' price - contact your local Forestry Commission office for more information about sourcing it from the forest
  • Ask your firewood merchant if he can deliver to you a load of 'round wood' that you can then cross cut and split yourself but remember that you'll need to be trained to be insured for using a chain saw. You can also hire splitters see this link  and some estates have firewood processors that you may be able to hire
  • Contact your nearest estate to see if they have any wood that they're felling that you can buy in the round




11 December 2012

per kWHper Year
Woodfuel - Logs£0.023£690
Woodfuel - Pellets£0.052£1560
Woodfuel - Chips£0.026£780
Oil - Kerosene£0.07£2100
this is based on...

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