The wind is howling outside. All you have to keep you warm is a fuzzy blanket and a steaming cup of hot chocolate. Your heater is working as hard as it can, but your feet still feel like ice cubes.
You have a chimney that you’ve never utilized. You’re not sure where to get firewood in your area. As it turns out, there are a lot of places where you can find it.
In some cases, you’ll have to buy it, but there are some free options out there too. We can teach you the secrets of collecting firewood so you can stay cozy when the weather outside gets frightful. Keep reading to learn more.
1. Search Around Your Property
The easiest source for gathering firewood is right around the corner. If you have trees near your home, you can cut your own firewood.
Before you grab a chainsaw, you’ve got to decide if you want to cut down the tree yourself or hire someone else to do it. If you don’t have any experience with it, we recommend the latter.
If you’re all set to handle it yourself, go ahead and inspect the area around the tree to be sure there are no potential obstacles in the way.
Cutting the Tree Down
Make a small cut on the side of the tree facing the direction you want it to fall. After that, you’re going to make a second, horizontal-shaped cut that meets the first one you made.
Head over to the opposite side of the tree to make another horizontal cut a little above where you made the last one. Don’t completely cut through the trunk.
Stop when it becomes unstable enough to fall on its own. This should give you enough time to get out of the line of danger.
Cut the Tree Into Pieces
Start at the base of the tree, and with an ax or chainsaw, begin cutting your way up the tree. As you approach the limbs, you’ll start to get stubby chunks of wood that you can’t actually throw into your fireplace
Set that off to the side. You can use it for mulch in your garden or give it to someone else that can use it.
Split the Large Chunks
You’re going to have to store your firewood for at least a year. This way, it has time to season. It’s really hard to put it away if you’re working with large logs.
You’re going to have to split them in half. You can use an ax or an electric wood splitter. We’ll warn you that the wood splitter makes the job a lot easier, but they’re kind of expensive.
2. Go to a Sawmill
If your hometown has a sawmill, take advantage of it. Most times, they don’t use all of the trees that they cut down. That means they have scraps laying around that are ripe for the picking.
All you have to do is go get it. Make sure that you call beforehand to ask if they have leftovers that you can take. If they do, grab a truck, trailer, and chainsaw and head to the mill.
Sift through and pull out any usable pieces. You may have to cut them down to size using your chainsaw. Toss them onto your trailer and take them home.
Some mills might ask for a small fee before they’ll let you make off with the wood, but most of them will let you take it for free.
3. Visit an Online Marketplace
Craigslist and the Facebook Marketplace are full of people with a bunch of firewood on their hands. You just have to contact the user and ask them for details.
If you don’t pick up any hits when you search, you can always put up an ad of your own. If someone has firewood that they’re willing to part with, they’ll contact you.
4. Drive Around After a Storm
Huge storms tend to break branches and even knock over fully grown trees. Not everyone can get into their yard to haul away the debris. That’s where you come in.
Join the cleanup efforts by going around your neighborhood and picking up branches and trees. You’ll score some free wood out of it and help others in need.
We will warn you that you’re going to have to get a jump on this opportunity fast. Most towns start their cleanup efforts as soon as the storm is over.
5. Head to a Construction Site
A construction company can’t begin building new homes and businesses without clearing up a few trees first. They do not need the trees they knock down, which is great news for you.
After asking for permission, the company will probably let you take home as much wood as you need. Unless you want to store a lot of logs for the winter, you won’t need everything they have.
If you don’t see any signs of building going on, head to a landfill. There’s a chance that the construction company was already there with their haul. You can sift through it without asking for permission from anyone.
Most large department stores already have a plan of action to dispose of their pallets. Not every retail business is so lucky. Most smaller companies have nowhere to put their leftover pallets.
They should have no problem with you using them as a free firewood pick up source. There are a couple of things you should keep in mind before you go this route. For one, using pallets should be an absolute last resort.
The wood will work in a pinch, but it’s nowhere near as good as regular old firewood. You can’t burn any pieces of wood that have nails or staplers stuck to them, which may narrow down your options a little.
If you see any dark spots on a piece of wood, toss it to the side. These spots might be from a flammable chemical. You don’t want to put that in your chimney.
7. Call Your Electric Company
We know that going through your electric company for wood seems like a strange go-to, but hear us out. When there is a tree blocking a powerline, the local utility company is the one who sends someone out to clear things up.
If you call and ask nicely, they might be willing to put you in contact with the person who handles this job for them. This individual most likely has plenty of spare wood that they can give you.
8. Tree Trimming Services
Do you have tree trimming experience and equipment on your hands? Offer your services around your hometown. Hop in your car and drive around looking for signs of dying plant life.
If you see anything, knock on the homeowner’s door and ask if you can handle the problem for them in exchange for keeping the wood.
If you don’t have experience with handling landscaping, get into contact with your local trimming services. A lot of them already have a way to dispose of their wood, but if they don’t, they may let you do it for a fee.
9. Go Get a Firewood Permit
Do you not have trees around your home? You can always take the wood from a local source. You’ll have to get a firewood permit before you can hack away.
Depending on your state, you may spend about 20 dollars to get your permit. Considering that you’ll be able to get enough firewood to keep you cozy all winter, the price is more than worth it.
10. Green Firewood
When you buy Accredited Kiln Dried Birch Logs, they’ll be ready for you to toss in your fireplace. Not every type of wood you can buy is like this.
You can get packages of what’s known as green firewood. It’s not seasoned, which means you won’t be able to use it right away. You’ll have to set it off to the side for about a year.
The offset for this minor inconvenience is money. Packs of green firewood are much cheaper than seasoned ones.
General Firewood Buying Tips
The source of your firewood is only one thing that you should keep in mind during the gathering process. You also need to find out of the wood is unseasoned.
You shouldn’t buy your wood if the source is over 50 miles away from your home town, and there’s also the argument of dried wood or fresh wood and solid wood or softwood.
Ask if the Wood is Unseasoned
Again if you buy unseasoned wood, you won’t be able to use it right away. The reason being is that unseasoned wood leaves a bunch of creosote in your chimney.
Since creosote is flammable, you may experience a horrible chimney fire if you let it build up. Regular old firewood drops this substance as well but to a lesser extent. That’s why it’s much safer to use.
Don’t Buy Wood From Over 50 Miles Away
If the only sawmill near you is over 50 miles away from your hometown, try to find another source of wood. This may seem like a silly rule, but where there is wood, there are pests.
You might accidentally bring a new species of insect to your neighborhood that wasn’t there before. So, you should only get your firewood from local sources if you can.
Dried Wood or Fresh wood
When it comes to dried wood or fresh wood, dried is king. It burns a lot faster than fresh wood, it puts off more heat, and it doesn’t create as much smoke.
If you buy a bundle of wood that seems a bit wet, you’ll want to put it on a rack by your fireplace. It will dry faster this way. Whatever you do, don’t stack it up on the side of your house.
There might be pests in the bundles. You don’t want them to invade your house because they’ll be hard to get rid of.
Hardwood or Softwood
Hardwoods are the best ones to use for the inside of a fireplace. Oak, ash, and hickory all burn for a long time, but you may struggle a little to ignite them.
If the wood is treated or stained at all, don’t burn them. They’ll give off toxic gasses that are harmful to you and your family.
Softwoods like pine and spruce don’t burn for too long, but they’re easy to ignite. They’re also a lot cheaper than your standard hardwoods. There’s only one problem.
You can’t use them in a fireplace. They create those creosotes that we were talking about earlier. They may become a fire hazard after an extended period of use.
If you must reach for pine, put it in a firepit. It should work fine as long as the area is well ventilated.
Build a Relationship
Once you find a reliable source of firewood, you want to hold onto it. If you build a relationship with the person who sells you your product, they’ll know what you’re looking for year after year. They like you, so they’ll give you first dibs on their stock.
A good way to start building a relationship is by sending a thank you card after you pick up your supply.
Where to Get Firewood and Stay Cozy This Winter
If the winters in your hometown tend to be on the harsh side, you know how important it is to gather firewood months beforehand. The problem is figuring out where to get firewood.
If you look around your area, you’re sure to find one of the sources that we’ve talked about here. Start exploring your neighborhood today to get all the firewood that you need to stay cozy this season.
Are you looking for more ways to beat the cold? Check out our blog daily to read additional articles like this one.