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County Sealer of Weights and Measures – it’s firewood season, not all wood is the same, purchase from a reputable dealer

October 23, 2018

SOLANO COUNTY – When the nights turn cold, many people will be purchasing firewood to heat their homes.  It is important to note that not all wood is the same.  Purchasing firewood from a reputable dealer ensures consumers will get the best product and the right quantity.

When shopping for firewood, keep in mind that wood from different species of trees can vary in the amount of heat generated, how easy they start and how much creosote they leave behind.  Hardwoods like oak, walnut and almond cost more on average, however, produce almost twice as much heat when compared to softwoods like cedar, Douglas fir and pine.  These hardwoods also leave behind less debris, including potentially harmful creosotes, which can build up in chimneys over time.

Consumers should also be familiar with the amount of wood they purchase.  Firewood in California must be sold by the cord or divisions thereof, including one-half, one-quarter or one-eighth.  Anything under one-eighth of a cord can be sold by the cubic feet.  A cord is 128 cubic feet of tightly stacked wood, typically measuring four feet by four feet by eight feet.  To calculate cubic feet, multiply the length times the width times the height.  When purchasing a cord of wood or divisions thereof, consider getting a combination of large and small pieces, allowing for tighter stacking.

Measurements in terms of "truck-load, bin, face-cord, rack or pile" are not legally defined wood-for-fuel measurements and should be avoided.  Be advised not to purchase firewood from these sellers and consider reporting anyone selling by these measurements to the County Agricultural Commissioner.

“California law requires a sales invoice or delivery ticket showing the name and address of the seller, the date of purchase or delivery, the quantity purchased, the type of wood delivered and the price for the quantity of wood purchased,” says Jose Arriaga, Assistant Agricultural Commissioner and Sealer of Weights & Measures.  “If after stacking your firewood you believe you did not receive the amount of wood you purchased, do not use the wood and contact the seller to make the correction.  If the seller won't or cannot make the correction, contact our office and will investigate.”

Not all firewood is the same.  Purchase quality wood in an appropriate measurement from a reputable dealer.  For questions, concerns and guidelines when shopping and purchasing firewood, contact the Solano County Agricultural Commissioner, Sealer of Weights & Measure’s office at (707) 784-1310.