Many people prefer to heat their homes with wood, and for good reason. Wood gives a rich, dry heat that seems to warm you from the inside out. Many also prefer the dancing flame of the fire itself to that of a gas or oil burner. Plus, modern wood stoves reduce pollution.
Choosing wood is easy. Oak has more heat content than maple, but the main consideration is dryness. It takes about 12 months to fully season firewood—that is, for it to air-dry enough to allow it to burn efficiently. Green wood—that which isn’t yet sufficiently dry—burns poorly. It gives off more smoke and less heat, plugs up your chimney and ultimately wastes your money. Species matters less than dryness, so whatever wood you use, make sure it’s been split in half, if not quarters, for at least nine months before burning.
For those who cut their own wood, remember that we have a serious invasive pest in our woods: the emerald ash borer. Though treatment efforts are underway, this devastating beetle has no predators and is ravaging our ash trees. And it’s not the only bad bug out there. The ambrosia beetle, black walnut twig beetle and gypsy moth may all hitch rides in the backs of trucks loaded with firewood. For this reason, Maryland’s state parks don’t allow you to enter with your own wood. Also bear in mind that snakes and other wildlife may seek cover in woodpiles kept outside.
One of the greatest hallmarks of firewood is it’s natural. Odds are that it grew within 15 miles of your home, so it’s the ultimate “buy local” example. The economics of burning wood is still a good deal as well, even with the recent decline of fossil fuel prices. Pound for pound, or rather, dollar for dollar, wood is about as cheap as oil, and let’s be honest: wood is just plain prettier. And more fun. And satisfying.
About 23,000 Maryland households use wood as their primary heat source; most users rely on it as a secondary source. If you are thinking of switching to wood, the Maryland Energy Administration offers grants to help you get started.
—Dan Rider, Forest Stewardship Manager
Selecting a Firewood Dealer
When selecting a firewood dealer you should take several things into consideration.
Are They Licensed?
Problems with a Firewood Dealer
Know What You Are Buying
So, what is a cord?
Not all wood is created equal!
Firewood Species Based on Air-Dried Standard (4'X4'X8') Cords
Is the Wood Dry?
Some indicators of dry wood:
Please let us know what you think about this service.Questions, comments, and suggestions can be directed to Maryland DNR
580 Taylor Ave, Annapolis MD 21401