Firewood Burning Properties, Stats and Species

When measuring cost vs effectiveness, Firewood is pound for pound the best way to heat your home. Not only is it virtually carbon neutral but with recent improvements in firewood inserts, fireplaces and wood boilers, heating with firewood more efficient than ever.

Wood Facts

  • Green weight is much different than seasoned weight. Green weight is the weight of a cord of freshly cut wood before drying.
  • Seasoned weight is the weight of a cord of cut wood once it has reached a moisture content rating of 22% or less.
  • Green firewood contains between 40% and 60% moisture content.
  • Green wood is far less efficient for heating purposes as much of the heat dispersed is used to boil off moisture from within the wood.
  • Green wood is not safe to burn indoors as it produces more smoke and creosote (carbon based material that sticks to the inside of your chimney) than seasoned wood.
  • Firewood should always be cut then seasoned for a period of 6 months or until it reaches a moisture content rating of 22% or less before it is burned indoors.
  • Seasoned wood costs more than green wood as it holds more value. In many areas of the world there is little difficulty finding green wood while reserves of seasoned logs are generally limited. Optimally, residents who rely on firewood for home heating should look for a firewood dealer equipped with a firewood kiln to guarantee the quality of firewood.

Buying Firewood

While buying firewood may seem easy, there are some less obvious challenges that may come up during your gathering process. It is easy to find a vast array of firewood dealers online using classifieds, yellow pages or google however identifying those who are reliable is more difficult. Here is some basic information including good questions to ask your firewood dealer to insure you get great firewood this burning season.

Species of Wood

General rule: harder the better – Hard woods such as Oak, Maple, Cherry or Arbutus are the best species of tree for firewood however the firewood you get will depend on what species are native to your area.

Standard Cord of Wood

  • A cord of firewood measures 128 cubic feet. The standard measurement for this unit is 4ft x 4ft x 8ft.

Face Cord of Wood

  • A Face Cord of wood is simply a measurement that equals one third of a cord.

Stacked Firewood vs Loose Firewood

  • A proper cord measurement of wood should be stacked and measured to equal 128 cubic feet. 
  • Loose firewood that is not stacked hold much less value than a stacked cord of wood. Large pockets between firewood logs result in a total volume that is equal to less than 65% of a stacked cord of firewood.