It’s hard not to be romantic about relaxing by a fire. Just mentioning firewood conjures up visions of a peaceful summer evening under the stars or a cozy winter night by the hearth. You might even have a beautiful fire pit or fireplace setup ready for such an occasion. But where will you get the firewood for your dream fire? You need a dependable firewood supplier.
Unfortunately, bad firewood suppliers are out there, and they’ll make your life difficult if you buy from them. Not only will it be a headache to get the wood, but the wood itself will be difficult to ignite and produce a lot of dirty smoke before quickly fizzling out.
What’s the point of impressing your guests with your fire pit or fireplace decor if you’re embarrassed by your firewood?
The purpose of this blog is to spare you from such a fate.
Trustworthy firewood companies are out there. To find them, you need to avoid the common pitfalls that so often trip up unsuspecting firewood shoppers. So, without further ado, here are the five mistakes to evade when looking for firewood suppliers near you.
Mistake #1: Valuing Low Price Over High Quality
Let’s acknowledge the elephant in the room for a second: anyone can chop and sell firewood. This is why there are so many firewood suppliers out there. A guy can wake up one day, grab an ax, fill his pickup with wood and put a “firewood for sale” sign by the road to make a few bucks.
Obviously, we wouldn’t recommend buying wood from some random guy. However, the product quality you often get from some firewood companies isn’t much better!
The Problems with Cheap Wood
Regrettably, some vendors will try to sell you wood that isn’t as dry as it needs to be. To burn well, firewood should contain less than 20% moisture. It takes time and intentionality to get the wood below this threshold, but bad firewood suppliers don’t have the patience for this. Instead, they sell it without drying it to make a quick buck.
Untrustworthy suppliers will sometimes sell you muddy or rotten firewood as well. The wood will contain things you’d never want to burn like insects, mold or fungus. A better company might take the time to weed out such pieces, but these vendors don’t care enough about you to do so.
For these reasons, bad firewood suppliers regularly undercut the price of quality firewood companies. The superior sellers must charge more because it takes more labor to produce a better product.
How to Spot Low-Quality Firewood
Therefore, don’t be easily seduced by low prices. Instead, have a healthy skepticism about the wood and make sure you can inspect it before you pay for it.
Look for signs of rotten firewood, including a soft texture, visible fungus and dark spots. We also recommend using a moisture meter to see if the wood is dry enough. You can purchase a moisture meter online or from most hardware stores.
Only after the wood has passed your inspection should you trust that low price.
Mistake #2: Overlooking the Firewood Supplier’s Process
But here’s the thing about inspecting firewood: no one has time to inspect it all before buying it. You may feel good about the few pieces you look at only to experience buyer’s remorse when you find moist and rotten pieces after purchase. This is why you also need to find out if your supplier has a reliable firewood production process.
The best firewood suppliers use a controlled process that results in top-quality wood every time. This process puts up secure guard rails to keep the wood from being compromised. Meanwhile, lesser companies leave the final quality of the wood to chance.
The Process Should Start with Good Wood
So, what are these “guard rails” the best companies put in place? First, good firewood suppliers are very careful about where their firewood comes from. For example, at Lumberjacks, we only source our wood from reputable local harvesters who practice eco-friendly harvesting. This way, we know we’re getting wood from healthy trees, and the harvesters are planting a tree for every tree they cut down.
Beyond this, a trustworthy vendor will also neatly split the wood into standard-sized pieces and discard any misshapen, rotten or muddy logs. Only the purest hardwood will make it through to the final drying stage.
The Process Should End with Kiln Drying
Drying the wood is where we separate the men from the boys. As we mentioned above, the best companies take the time to dry their firewood before selling it to you. However, it’s how the firewood supplier goes about drying it that makes all the difference.
The two main methods for drying firewood are seasoning and kiln drying. Vendors season firewood by leaving it out to air-dry for multiple months. The problem with this method is that it rarely gets the wood down below the 20% moisture threshold. So, seasoned firewood doesn’t always burn as cleanly as it could.
Kiln drying, on the other hand, is a much more controlled drying process. Companies take split wood and place it in a super-hot kiln for two days at over 260°F. This enclosed drier always gets all the wood down to below 20% moisture while also killing off any insects, mold or fungus that may have been lurking inside it. As a result, kiln-dried firewood ignites easier and burns hotter and longer with minimal smoke or creosote for the best fire experience.
So, when you’re vetting potential firewood suppliers, make sure:
- The firewood comes from trustworthy harvesters,
- The company removes subpar pieces,
- And the firewood is kiln-dried.
Only such carefully produced wood is worth your hard-earned money.
Mistake #3: Ignoring the Word on the Street
A company’s reputation is everything. This is especially true when it comes to a firewood supplier. If the business doesn’t have much of a rapport or people are constantly complaining about it online, those are red flags you can’t afford to ignore. So, make sure you take some time to research the companies with firewood logs for sale near you.
One good sign a supplier is worth buying from is if it has been in business for a while. Subpar companies don’t tend to last more than a few years. So, if the vendor you’re looking at has more than a decade in the industry under its belt, then it must be doing something right.
Furthermore, the longer a company has been around, the more customer reviews it will have. A lot of local firewood suppliers have profiles on sites like Google, Facebook and Yelp, where you can read these reviews. See what customers are saying, and don’t be discouraged if you find a few negative reviews. Often, what’s more telling than the presence of negative reviews is how the company responds to those reviews. If it replies with contrite, courteous and professional responses, then it’s a good indicator that the company will treat you right.
We also recommend asking around to see if anyone you know has used a firewood supplier. After all, whose opinion do you trust more than your close friends and family?
Mistake #4: Settling for Subpar Customer Service
The firewood provider you choose shouldn’t just have good wood; it should also treat you like royalty. You should never feel pressured into making a purchase, and the company representatives should be willing to go the extra mile to serve you. Don’t settle for anything less than the best customer service.
Now, before you accuse us of being too picky here, keep in mind that you want to find a firewood supplier you continually rely on whenever you need wood. You don’t want someone with whom it will be a chore to talk on the phone. Wouldn’t it be ideal to find a company with people who are easy to talk to and will remember your ordering preferences for future calls?
You can find this vendor by paying attention to how you’re treated during the first phone call. Is the person on the other end brisk with you? Do you feel rushed into making a purchasing decision? Or are they willing to thoroughly answer any questions you have about their wood?
One good test is to ask if the vendor would be okay with you stopping by their business to check out the wood. A trustworthy company will have no problem with this.
Additionally, gauge how easy it is to order your wood over the phone. The best companies will patiently help you through the ordering process and give you a clear timeline for when you can expect to receive your firewood. If there’s any ambiguity or discomfort, you might not want to shop at that firewood provider again.
Mistake #5: Not Holding the Company Accountable
One final consideration to make about where to buy firewood locally is what the delivery experience is like. Does the company follow through on all its promises when it delivers your firewood, or are you left feeling short-changed?
The best way to avoid settling for less is to pay close attention to the details. Was the estimated arrival time for your wood precise or vague, and did the wood arrive when you expected it? Furthermore, did the delivery driver follow your instructions about where to drop off your wood?
If your expectations aren’t met, then hold the company accountable by complaining or taking your business elsewhere.
Buy From a Firewood Supplier That Delivers on Its Promises
The quality of the firewood company you choose matters. Poorly produced wood and lackluster service take all the fun out of what should be a leisurely experience. Fortunately, you can avoid these pitfalls by looking for a vendor with a dependable production process and impeccable customer care.
If you’re in the market for a good firewood supplier, may we humbly throw our hat into the ring? At Lumberjacks, we’ve delivered kiln-dried firewood to the Chicago region for over 25 years. Our customers keep coming back because our wood is consistently good, and our customer service is even better!
Want to see what all the fuss is about? Please reach out to learn more about our firewood. You can call (815) 337-1451 to talk to one of our helpful team members or visit our location in Woodstock, IL, to see the wood for yourself. Or click the link below to learn more about our firewood.