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Buying, burning firewood

December 16, 2002|by ANDREA ROWLAND

andrear@herald-mail.com

University of Maryland Cooperative Extension Agent Don Schwartz offered the following tips for buying and burning firewood:

  • Know the law. In Maryland, firewood vendors must disclose the cord measurement, type of wood and whether the wood is seasoned or green. The seller must also provide the buyer with a delivery receipt, according to standards established by the state Administration for Weights and Measures.

  • Ask whether the seller is measuring a full cord or a face cord. When neatly stacked and rowed, a cord of wood equals 128 cubic feet. This stack measures 4 feet tall-by-4 feet wide-by-8 feet long. A face cord measures 4 feet tall-by-8 feet long but is only as wide as one piece of wood.

  • Ask for the species of wood in the stack. Hard woods such as oak will produce more heat than soft woods such as pine. Oak tends to be pricey, but comparable woods found in this area- including hickory, locust and ash - cost less but burn well.

  • Ask if the wood is seasoned. The energy it takes to burn the water out of unseasoned, or green, wood should be used to heat your home.

    Seasoned wood, which generally costs more than green wood, might look gray and have peeling bark and split ends. Dry wood is lighter than green wood, and produces a resonant sound when knocked against another piece of wood. Green wood might feel moist on the ends and will make a dull thud when knocked against another piece of wood.

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  • Inspect chimneys before using wood-burning stoves and fireplaces.


  • Firewood consumers with questions or concerns can call the state Department of Natural Resources' forestry offices at 301-791-4733 or 301-791-4010 to see if the firewood vendor is licensed to sell wood in Maryland, Schwartz said.

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