How To Protect Yourself When Buying Firewood

What is a Cord?

Bulk firewood is sold by a measurement called a "cord." A cord must equal 128 cubic feet. To be sure you have a cord, stack the wood neatly by placing the wood in a line or a row, with individual pieces touching and parallel to each other, making sure that the wood is compact and has as few gaps as possible. Then measure the stack. If the width times the height times the length equals 128 cubic feet, you have a cord of firewood.

Stacking a Cord for Measurement

Properly stacked cordNot how to properly stack cord

If it doesn't equal 128 cubic feet, it is not a cord!

4x4x8=128 cubic feet2x4x16=128 cubic feet

Words That May Indicate You Are Not Getting Proper Measurement

A cord, like other measurements such as a foot, a gallon, or a ton, is defined by law. A seller may not legitimately use terms such as "truckload," "face cord," "rack," or "pile" because these terms have no legally defined meaning and, therefore, you have no way of determining how much firewood you are actually receiving. If a seller uses such terms it should alert you to a possible problem. Wood can only be sold by the cord or by fractions of a cord.

Get What You Pay For - Get It In Writing

When you buy firewood make sure to get a sales invoice or delivery ticket which shows at least the name and address of the seller, the date purchased or delivered, the quantity purchased, and the price of the quantity purchased.

When the wood is delivered, ask the seller to stack it (you may have to pay extra for this service) or stack the wood yourself. Measure the wood before using any. If the cubic measurement indicate that you did not receive the correct volume, contact the seller before you burn any wood.

What to Do If You Think You Have Been Short Changed

If the seller can’t or won’t correct the problem, contact your weights and measures office before you burn any wood. It is also helpful to document the possible shortage by taking a picture of the stacked wood.