As the colder months approach, many homeowners turn their attention to preparing for winter. One essential aspect of winter preparation is ensuring a reliable source of firewood. Whether you use a fireplace, wood-burning stove, or fire pit, choosing the suitable firewood is crucial for a warm and cosy winter. However, several common mistakes can make this simple task costly. In this article, we will explore the top 10 mistakes to avoid when purchasing firewood and provide valuable tips on how to make the right choices.

Selecting the right firewood is more than picking up any logs. Different types of firewood have varying properties that directly impact their burn efficiency, heat output, and even the safety of your home. Understanding the qualities of various firewood types ensures maximum heat output and minimises the risk of chimney fires or excessive smoke.

Mistake #1: Not knowing the different types of firewood

One of the most common mistakes homeowners make when purchasing firewood is not familiarising themselves with the different types available. Each type of firewood has its own set of characteristics that determine its burn quality and heat output. Hardwoods like oak or maple are denser and burn longer, providing a steady heat source. Softwoods, like pine or fir, ignite quickly but burn faster and produce less heat. You can choose the right firewood for your specific needs by understanding the differences.

Mistake #2: Buying wet or unseasoned firewood

Another costly mistake is purchasing wet or unseasoned firewood. Freshly cut or “green” firewood contains a high moisture content, which makes it difficult to ignite and produces less heat. Purchasing seasoned firewood that has been properly dried for at least six months is crucial. Seasoned firewood has a moisture content of around 20%, making it easier to light and providing optimal heat output.

Mistake #3: Ignoring the wood’s moisture content

Even if the firewood is advertised as seasoned, it is essential to check its moisture content before purchasing. Wet or moist firewood can be deceptive, and unscrupulous sellers may try to pass it off as properly seasoned. Invest in a moisture metre to ensure the firewood’s moisture content is within the recommended range. This simple tool can save you from purchasing firewood that will not burn efficiently and can potentially damage your fireplace or stove.

Mistake #4: Overpaying for firewood

Another mistake to avoid is overpaying for firewood. Prices can vary significantly depending on location, type of firewood, and the seller. Do some research and compare prices from different suppliers in your area. Remember that purchasing firewood in bulk can often result in a better deal. Consider the delivery cost, as some sellers may charge extra for this service. By being informed and comparing prices, you can get the best value for your money.

Mistake #5: Not considering the quantity needed

Estimating the quantity of firewood needed for winter is crucial to avoid running out or ending up with excess logs. The amount of firewood required depends on factors such as the size of your home, the frequency of use, and the efficiency of your heating appliance. It is generally recommended to have at least a cord of firewood (128 cubic feet) for a typical winter season. If in doubt, consult with a reputable firewood supplier who can provide guidance based on your specific requirements.

Mistake #6: Neglecting to check for pests or insects

When purchasing firewood, inspecting it for any signs of pests or insects is essential. Wood-boring insects, such as termites or beetles, can infest your home and cause significant damage. Look for small holes, tunnels, or sawdust-like frass on the firewood. Additionally, be cautious when bringing firewood inside your home, as pests can hide within the logs. Taking these precautions will help protect your home from unwanted visitors.

Mistake #7: Not asking for recommendations or reading reviews

Choosing a reliable firewood supplier is crucial to ensure the quality and reliability of the firewood you purchase. Don’t hesitate to ask friends, neighbours, or local community groups for recommendations. Additionally, read online reviews or check the supplier’s website for testimonials. A reputable supplier will have positive feedback and a track record of providing high-quality firewood.

Mistake #8: Ignoring the importance of proper storage

Proper storage of firewood is often overlooked, but it plays a vital role in maintaining the quality and burn efficiency of the logs. To prevent moisture absorption, firewood should be stored in a dry and well-ventilated area, preferably off the ground. Use a firewood rack or pallets to elevate the logs and allow air circulation. Keep the firewood covered with a tarp or waterproof cover to protect it from rain or snow. By taking care of your firewood, you can ensure it remains in optimal condition throughout the winter.

Mistake #9: Failing to ask about delivery options

If you lack the means to transport firewood, you must inquire about delivery options when purchasing. Some firewood suppliers offer delivery services, while others may require you to arrange transportation. Consider the convenience and cost of delivery when choosing a supplier. Also, ask about the delivery timeframe to ensure you have the firewood when needed.

Mistake #10: Not considering the environmental impact of firewood

Lastly, it is crucial to consider the environmental impact of the firewood you purchase. Opt for sustainably sourced firewood from local suppliers to minimise the carbon footprint associated with transportation. Avoid buying firewood from protected or endangered tree species. You can enjoy your firewood’s warmth while preserving the planet by making environmentally conscious choices.

How to avoid these costly mistakes when purchasing firewood

To steer clear of these costly mistakes when purchasing firewood, follow these essential tips:

  1. Educate yourself on the different types of firewood and their qualities.
  2. Ensure you purchase seasoned firewood with an optimal moisture content.
  3. Use a moisture metre to verify the firewood’s moisture content before buying.
  4. Compare prices from different suppliers and consider purchasing in bulk.
  5. Estimate the quantity of firewood needed based on your specific requirements.
  6. Inspect the firewood for signs of pests or insects before bringing it into your home.
  7. Seek recommendations and read reviews to choose a reputable supplier.
  8. Properly store your firewood to maintain its quality and burn efficiency.
  9. Inquire about delivery options if you cannot transport the firewood yourself.
  10. Make environmentally conscious choices by opting for sustainably sourced firewood.

By following these tips, you can ensure a warm and cost-effective winter without falling victim to the common mistakes associated with purchasing firewood.

Conclusion: Ensuring a warm and cost-effective winter with suitable firewood

Purchasing firewood for your home doesn’t have to be a daunting task. With the knowledge gained from this article, you are now equipped to navigate the potential pitfalls and make informed decisions. By avoiding the top 10 costly mistakes when purchasing firewood, you can ensure a warm and cozy winter without breaking the bank. Remember to educate yourself on the different types of firewood, choose seasoned logs with optimal moisture content, and consider factors such as quantity, storage, and delivery options. By taking these steps, you can enjoy the warmth and comfort of a crackling fire while avoiding unnecessary expenses. Stay warm and enjoy the winter season!


Are you ready to make the right choices when purchasing firewood for your home? Follow our expert tips and avoid the top 10 costly mistakes. Ensure a warm and cost-effective winter by making informed decisions. Don’t let firewood folly dampen your spirits. Start preparing for winter today!