One of the best things about heating with a wood stove is getting free wood. Nobody ever walks up to you and says, hey, I have some extra money I need out of my way, do you want some for your gas furnace? But when people know you heat with wood, it’s not unheard of that they’ll come up to you and ask if you want firewood that they need moved out of their yard.
The best time to look for free firewood is in the spring and summer, especially when people are trimming trees. Summer is a great time of year to start picking up scrap wood, and letting it season on your own property. Once pieces are pretty seasoned move them into your garage/wood shed/barn/laundry room/workshop/wherever your wood is out of the weather. Most people are cleaning up their properties and are more than willing to have someone come haul it away. Usually trickiest part about free wood is getting there in time before anyone else asks to take it.
If you live in a super nice area of town it might be worth it to cruise the more industrial area and see if any businesses have pallets or other scraps to give away. Just a few blocks from my home is a construction company that has a bin next to their dumpsters where they put odds and ends for anyone to take. I’ve also found wood illegally dumped on the bike path that goes right next to my house. Not only did I get free wood, but I also cleaned up the neighborhood.
Websites like www.craigslist.com or chipdrop.com are great for hooking up people who are trimming their trees, or cleaning out scrap lumber. I’ve also gotten free wood from neighbors who just wanted it hauled away. It never hurts to ask, and usually people are happy to have you take it off their hands.
Here is a list of 10 places to start searching for free firewood:
- Ask around at construction sites
- Wood dumped on the side of the road
- Neighbors cutting down tress
- Church/community bulletins
- Businesses with extra (untreated) pallets
- Walk or drive around a new area of town
Tips for Bringing Home Free Wood
If you have a truck, you’re totally lucky! If you don’t have a truck, you can lay big tarps down in your car and load on top of the tarp to protect your upholstery. Alternatively, you can rent a pick up from Uhaul pretty cheap if you need to.
If you are getting lumber or untreated pallets, I’ve found the best way to split those into burnable lengths is simply to cut them down with a cheap circular saw.
Some wood isn’t going to be split, or even the right length for your stove. If you are regularly getting large pieces of wood, it might be a good idea to invest in a chain saw to cut the length down, or also a hydraulic log splitter. It’s possible to split big logs with a wedge, and since we never had a log splitter that is how we do all our wood.
In fact, in this video it looks so easy!
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