Firewood purchasing tips

By Frank Lewis

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It hits you like a snowball in the face. You wake up one day and realize winter is here and you have to start figuring out what to do to keep warm for the winter. A lot of people rely on woodburners for beating the cold. But the Ohio Department of Agriculture says there are things you need to know and watch out for before you look for firewood.

“Many Ohioans rely on firewood to heat their homes during the cold winter months. That’s why it’s important to know the laws about how firewood must be sold in order to make sure you, the consumer, are getting what you pay for,” Ohio Agriculture Director David T. Daniels said.

Daniels said non-packaged firewood must be sold by the cord or by fractions of a cord. One cord, when properly stacked, should be 8 feet long by 4 feet high and 4 feet wide (128 cubic feet). If it is sold in bulk, firewood must be purchased by the weight in ton measurements and it must be weighed on a certified scale.

Daniels said consumers need to know it is illegal to sell firewood by any other unit of measurement such as a rick, rack, face cord or truckload. If a consumer believes that a seller did not comply with these rules and regulations, the person should immediately contact the seller.

He said if non-packaged firewood is purchased, the seller must present the consumer with a delivery ticket or sales invoice that includes contact information and the terms and conditions of the sale and if it is advertised and sold as “seasoned,” it must have a moisture content of less than 50 percent. “Unseasoned” wood will only produce two-thirds of the heat of “seasoned” wood.

Lastly, if the firewood is advertised and sold as a certain type of wood, the load must contain at least 90 percent of that species.

If you have questions or concerns with a firewood sale, and the seller will not correct the problem you can contact the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Division of Weights and Measures at (614) 728-6290 or contact your county auditor’s office.

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.

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