Burn wood, save cash
Mark Cartwright of Wildwood Logs, firewood suppliers for the Surrey and Hampshire borders, shares his top tips on ordering firewood - from the best types of wood to the hidden pitfalls to avoid…
Household wood burning is a growing market. Given the current price for gas and electricity, it is easy to understand why more and more people are turning towards the heating of their property through the burning of wood.
On the face of it, nothing could be simpler than finding a log supplier and getting them to deliver ‘a load of firewood’. But we need to introduce an element of caution and satisfy ourselves that we are happy with what we purchase. There are several questions we should consider:
What are they going to supply and is it fit for purpose?
There is quite a science behind the supply of firewood but in a nutshell the best quality is kiln-dried hardwood with ash, oak and beech being the best. The moisture content of these logs will be between 15% and 20% to ensure optimum burning and heat output. The next level down is seasoned hardwood with a moisture content measured at between 20% and 25%. This will burn with less heat and is liable to produce some crackling and a bit of smoke. It is, however, cheaper to produce and therefore cheaper to buy. Anything else is simply not worth burning. Similarly, if you have softwood such as pine you should use this sparingly. Softwoods have a high concentration of hydrocarbons which deposit soot into the chimney. This is not so much of an issue with an open fire, which is regularly swept, but is not recommended for log burners.
How much will I get?
The simple truth is that unlike other industries it is very hard to compare one supplier with another based on the amounts or sizes offered.
Basically a tonne in weight of firewood is a lot of firewood, particularly if it is kiln-dried, as the reduced moisture content means that you get more logs per weighted measure in comparison to seasoned logs with their higher moisture content. There are now some suppliers who offer actual weighted amounts of firewood to enable you to know exactly what you are getting for your money.
Also, ask your supplier about any delivery charges, such as is the VAT included? Nobody wants a nasty surprise.
Will they unpack and stack the logs post-delivery?
Most suppliers - primarily the national suppliers - will not take any responsibility for the unpacking and stacking of the logs. They will organise the delivery to drop the order at the roadside and you will then have to cart everything to where you need it to go. You might even find that your supplier would charge for this service as a hidden extra.
The more reputable suppliers will offer this service as part of the delivery at no extra cost.
It is also worth mentioning that the reputable suppliers will deliver at a time convenient to you, including weekends and evenings. They will want to build working relationships with you because you will be more likely to reorder. It is therefore in their interest to behave this way. Similarly they will clear up after themselves and take pride in the service they offer.
Wildwood Logs, 07702 559982, www.wildwoodlogs.co.uk