Q. With our mild winters here, I and some acquaintances depend on our fireplaces for warmth if it does get below 50 degrees. What’s the standard in amount of wood one is to get when ordering a cord? With the price of firewood up, the logs delivered seem nothing to what I think it should be.
A. We went online to search for your answer, and found this explanation at woodheat.org.
A full cord usually measures 4 feet high by 4 feet wide by 8 feet long and has a volume of 128 cubic feet. The amount of solid wood in a cord varies depending on the size of the pieces, but for firewood it averages about 85 cubic feet. The rest is air.
Here’s the confusing part: 4-foot pieces are almost never used for home heating. The common length for home heating is 16 inches, or one-third of a full cord.
Terms such as face cord, stove cord or furnace cord are sometimes used to describe a stack of wood measuring 4 feet high and 8 feet long with a piece length shorter than 4 feet.
Your best bet is to compare prices from various sellers, taking a tape measure and a calculator with you.
Here are some examples on how to compare the prices for a full cord length of 48 inches.
Firewood is selling for $75. The pile is 4 feet high and 8 feet long, with an average piece length of 16 inches. Divide the 16-inch length into the 48 inches and multiply by the price.
48 ÷ 16 = 3 x $75 = $225 per cord.
A ‘stove cord’ is being offered for $60 from a pile measuring 4 feet by 8 feet with an average length of 12 inches:
48 ÷ 12 = 4 x $60 = $240 per cord.
Furnace cord is selling for $85, measuring 4 feet x 8 feet x 18 inches:
48 ÷ 18 = 2.67 x $85 = $227 per cord.
Other variables to consider:
shorter lengths usually cost more because of more cutting and handling.
drier wood costs more because it has been stored longer and under better conditions.
cleaner firewood is more valuable because sand or mud in the bark makes the wood less pleasant to use.
Buy carefully and stay warm!
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