As the weather warms, many are delighted that the worst of winter fuel bills are ending. Smart consumers, however, are doing more than heaving a sigh of relief; they are getting a step ahead of next winter’s fuel costs by buying or gathering firewood now to use in their fireplaces and woodstoves next winter.
With the sharp rise in fuel oil costs, increasingly home owners are turning to firewood as a supplemental or primary source of heat. A cord of birch firewood, for example, has 25 million BTUs, the energy equivalent of 165 gallons of fuel oil! Buying or gathering that firewood in spring, instead of waiting until next fall or winter, has several significant advantages.
Why Spring is the Best Time to Buy or Gather Firewood
- Prices for firewood are generally down in early spring, and the supplies are good. Buying now instead of waiting for cold weather to buy your firewood will save you money.
- There is no indication that fuel costs, especially the cost of heating oil, will be lower next winter. In fact, many indicators predict next winter’s fuel costs will be even higher than this winter’s. People may be all the more turning to fireplaces and woodstoves to offset their fuel costs next winter, increasing the demand and therefore the price of firewood next fall and winter. Buying your firewood in spring puts you ahead of those price increases that are forecast for firewood next fall.
- Firewood needs at least six months to season. If you want your firewood ready for the cool days of next fall, now is the time to be getting it and storing in on firewood racks so it can properly season.
- Insects living under the bark are dormant in early spring. When you store firewood in the spring for use next fall or winter, any insects will likely die before you bring the firewood into your home. That’s a plus!
- Landowners whose property has been logged will welcome you if you ask permission to salvage firewood. Loggers leave behind about 50% of each tree, cluttering the landscape but providing you with free firewood.
With a chain saw and a wood splitter, you can tailor your firewood to the dimensions of your fireplace. There’s considerably less competition for this free firewood in spring than there is during the cooler seasons.
- Bonus Reason! Fruit trees are pruned at the very end of winter. Many orchards are glad to donate pruned limbs as firewood. Since fruit trees are all hardwoods, they are ideal firewood.
Smart homeowners who seek out firewood in the off season will have lower cost, seasoned firewood waiting for them when the cold weather and high fuel oil costs return. They know that spring is the best time to buy or gather firewood.
Wondering how much firewood you need, or what kind to get? Check out the FireplaceMall Guide to Firewood.