Don't get burned buying firewood this season

The Firewood Association of New Brunswick (FANB) issued a statement warning residents to be careful when buying wood this season.

Lower supplies of firewood this year means prices are going up and buyers can expect to pay anywhere between $270 and $400 for a cord, up about 8 percent from last year. Unfortunately, the price increase means consumers may not get what they pay for.

“A lot of sellers aren’t stacking properly,” said Rob Saunders, a spokesperson for FANB. “Stacks have to be aligned and compact. But lately I’ve been seeing piles with gaps so wide that I can see the salesman grinning at me from the other side.”

Saunders also told New Brunswickers to beware unconventional units of measurement, because “bargains” may not be what they seem.

“Watch out for furnace cords,” he warned. “Sellers will charge you about two-thirds the price of a proper cord, but they’ll only give you about half the wood. The same goes for short cords, bush cords, stove cords and processed cords. And don’t go near trunk-fulls, hands or standard feet. These units of measurement are not legally recognized and can cause trouble for buyers later if they seek legal action.”

“Also,” he added, “Square metres, decametres and kilograms are also illegal, as well as anything else metric. If it comes in neat 10s, don’t buy it.”

When asked about legal wood measurements, he explained, “Cords are great as long as they’re proper. Same goes for face cords. It’s safe to buy branch cords if you know how to tell ’em, and stacked cubic feet are okay if they’re birch. Truckloads are good and legal if they’re levelled off, and cubic arm-lengths are acceptable as long as hands are included. Anyone who tells you ‘no hands in an arm-length’ is ripping you off! Also, never pay more than 10 percent extra for ready-to-burn cords and always buy wet cords at a discount.”

Saunders noted that New Brunswickers should also be on the lookout when buying smaller quantities of wood.

“Kindling’s a whole different ball game. In my opinion, you should always cut your own kindling, but if you have to buy you should get it by the bucket or wheelbarrow. Peck-bushels are also safe, which equals out to about 4 bushels, cause there’s 4 pecks in a bushel. Just make sure they’re U.S. peck-bushels and not imperial peck-bushels.”

When asked if he had any last minute advice, he warned: “If your wood salesman tries to charge a late season fee, just look at your thermometer. Legally, it can’t be considered late season unless it’s colder than minus-5 degrees … Fahrenheit.”

“Overall,” he concluded, “just don’t buy anything strange, and you should be okay.”

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