Seasoned Firewood for Sale from Des Moines to Indianola
Firewood For Sale from Des Moines to Indianola
There’s a few things we’d like you to tell us when you call or email us in order to give you a better wood buying experience. First, we’d like to know how much firewood you want. Prices vary by season, demand, and type of firewood. We do sell custom cord sizes, but we ask that you contact us to determine the price for your job. We need to to know your address so we can determine if there will be a delivery charge, and we ask that you consider how and where you’d like your firewood stacked as additional charges can be incurred for especially laborious or time consuming work. Please also include your preferred delivery date and time, or let us know if you’d like to come by and pick it up yourself. If you’re purchasing anything more than a half cord, we recommend allowing us to deliver the wood for you. One last thing: we used to have firewood for sale in two different sizes, but found that our customers had a strong preference for the shorter cuts as it fit better in their homes and fireplaces. As such we’ve standardized the size to approximately 16 inches, though it’s natural to see some minor variation in length.
We deliver within 30 miles, round trip, and are located in Norwalk, Iowa. After that we charge $0.75 per mile to cover the cost of fuel and maintenance. We feel it’s fair to our customers to charge based on the service they receive, rather than charge a standard rate and take excess profit off customers who are closer. To get an accurate quote, you should call or email us with your specific delivery location. Generally speaking, from our home to a home in downtown Des Moines incurs no additional fee. Some companies have very strict delivery times, but we believe in making things as convenient for our customers as possible, so include a few preferred delivery times if you have any. We’ll try out best to work with your schedule. We serve the Des Moines metro area, Indianola and as far west as Winterset, so give us a call and we’ll send you a quote.
Firewood Buying Guide
We’ve delivered enough firewood to have noticed a trend in our industry. Many of our customers have stories of being scammed out of a full cord, being sold green wood as seasoned, and others who just struggle to find a decent firewood provider who will deliver a legitimate full cord. On top of that, many of our customers have questions about the wood they’re going to burn, and after answering a good many of the same questions over and over we decided to put together a resource here for your convenience. We hope that by providing you with the knowledge to judge firewood for yourself we can help you make a smarter purchase, and also see the value in ordering firewood from a reputable company.
Log Splitter Service
Some of our customers have fallen trees on their property that they haven’t done anything with. These customers will sometimes shop around and find that the price to have a tree service company come out and remove the tree is so high it’s not always worth it. We can come out with our mobile log splitter, a two or three man crew, and some chainsaws and turn that tree into firewood on site. There are a number of benefits to this, not the least of which is killing two birds with one stone: you got rid of that tree and you got firewood for the winter. It will be more expensive for us to come out and chop up a tree than to buy a cord, but cheaper than paying someone to haul the tree away to rot in a landfill in most cases. We don’t guarantee prices like that, but we’re sharing real world experiences from some of our customers who have done their homework. We encourage our customers to do whatever research necessary to make an informed decision.
There are some considerations you should make regarding the species of wood, seasoned vs. unseasoned wood, and whether it’s infested with insects, rot or disease. We go over those issues further down this page, and hope it will be helpful to you. In our opinion, the best time to have a fallen tree turned into firewood is about five minutes after it hits the ground. Turning it into firewood sooner rather than later gives it a chance to age and air dry, hopefully in time for winter. Customers who plan a little can save a lot, and even if you’re too late this year, give us a call anyway and we might be able to save you some time and money for next winter.
Seasoned or Unseasoned Wood
We strongly recommend that if you’re looking to burn wood you use our stock of seasoned oak, red elm, hickory and locust hardwoods that have aged at least a year. We do have green wood, or unseasoned wood as the industry refers to it, available on request, though we don’t prefer to sell it. Some folk insist that it burns hotter and longer, however it’s best to not burn green wood indoors. The reason for burning seasoned wood over unseasoned is that when green wood burns, it fills up your chimney flue and fireplace with creosote, which can cause an uncontrolled fire. There are two theories on why this happens. Some people believe the high sap content in green wood is what causes the creosote to build up, but many experts claim that’s a myth and that creosote build up occurs with unseasoned wood due to water content. Unseasoned wood also gives off a lot more smoke. For these reasons we always recommend burning only seasoned hardwood indoors.
So how can you tell if the wood is seasoned? Well, there are a few ways. As the moisture leaves the wood the bark starts to come loose, and can be easily peeled. Another method is to check for splits at the end of the log. As moisture leaves the wood it causes small cracks to form in the log. Don’t confuse these with hatchet marks. And it’s okay to leave seasoned wood in the rain. Wood that’s seasoned will dry out quickly, usually within three days though this can vary depending on species, weather, and just how seasoned the wood is. It also is worth noting that wood will become seasoned at different rates depending on species. It takes at least six months for most species of wood to be fit for burning, but some varieties (such as oak) take at least a year and up to two. This is why it can be difficult to find seasoned wood – many firewood vendors don’t wait for the firewood to be ready to burn. We use a moisture meter designed specifically for calculating the moisture content of our wood. While not fool proof, it is a good indicator of how “well seasoned” or dry the wood is.
Softwood vs Hardwood
We don’t burn softwoods like pine in our home and we don’t recommend it for you either. In fact, if you call us up and ask for softwood, we’ll tell you we don’t have any. In part, it’s because our customers are mainly burning wood indoors, and there’s the previously mentioned problem with sap content. Softwoods like pine have a very high sap content, which some experts believe can cause a build up of creosote in your chimney indirectly. The problem is that softwoods like pine may have a very high moisture content as well as a high resin content. The resin allows it to burn readily, even though it may not be dry enough. The moisture then forms the excessive amount of creosote.
It’s also well known that softwoods burn faster than hardwood. We did a little experiment to test out for ourselves what the difference might be in our own home. Three logs of seasoned pine, six inches in diameter, burned for about two hours. Three logs of seasoned oak, also six inches in diameter, burned for about four to five hours. The difference is not in the heat value, it’s in the density of the wood. Utah State University has a very well documented table on the characteristics of different types of wood for heating. Utah State considers the wood we sell to be very high quality for indoor heating purposes. We sell bur oak (native to Iowa), locust, elm and hickory, and possibly more depending on whether our supplies last. Let us know if you have a particular preference.
How much is in a Cord of Wood?
Many people have this question and we do our best to inform our customers and visitors. We sell a standard cord of wood, which is 4 feet high, 4 feet deep, and 8 feet long. We also stack and pack it as closely as possible to give you the best bang for your buck. In a cord of wood, there is about 128 cubic feet of wood and air space. Because wood is a natural product that does not conform to standard lengths, shapes, and sizes, you may get a little more or a little less in each cord of wood. Typically though, we deliver a full truckload in our dump truck which has a bit more than a standard cord in it. Below, we’ll talk about some methods that less reputable firewood dealers use to sell substandard firewood or make it look like you’re getting a cord of wood. We do sell custom cord sizes upon request, so please contact us to determine your needs and price. For reference, a standard size pickup truck can safely hold about a half cord, which is why we recommend allowing us to deliver to you.
How Long does a Cord Last?
This is another question that comes up a lot, but it’s going to vary. We’ve been heating our homes through frigid winters for decades. We burn firewood every year to keep the house warm once it gets cold, and we let the fire burn through the night. You could say that we’re dedicated firewood users, and we go through three standard cords in one winter. It’s important to note that the amount of firewood you’ll need will depend on your home size, insulation, outside temperature, personal preferences, the type of fireplace you have, and whether you’re using the wood for heat or another purpose, such as holidays. Overall if you’re new to buying firewood we highly recommend getting a standard cord of firewood, as you will get the best bang for your buck there. If you don’t use all your wood this year, you can keep it for next year. I will also caution against under-purchasing on your firewood stock. Businesses in our area have run out of good seasoned hardwood before, and you don’t want to run empty in January.
It’s best to store firewood off the ground on pavers, pallets, or concrete. This reduces insect infestation, dirt, and moisture that has traveled up from the ground into your firewood. It improves air circulation and also reduces the chance that snakes will find a home in your wood pile.
We also recommend not storing your firewood too close to the home. While it may be less convenient in winter, you don’t want too much firewood near the home as it can encourage insect problems and may create a fire hazard. Purchasing a firewood rack to store a small amount of wood near the home can be convenient for cold winter days. Never block any doorways or egress routes with firewood piles. Covering your firewood with a simple tarp works well in conjunction with the pallets we provide, however some people who are really serious about their firewood may consider purchasing or building a firewood shed. For our DIY audience out there, here’s a site showing how to build a firewood storage shed. It includes some free plans and very detailed material lists. We think the end results look quite dapper! There are some companies that sell fully made sheds, but it’s best to shop around your local area to reduce transportation expenses.
Fireplace Cleaning and Maintenance
While we don’t do any fireplace cleaning, we do recommend that you get it inspected and cleaned annually by a certified chimney sweeper, or more often if you notice a buildup of creosote of greater than 1/8 inch. You can find a certified chimney sweep at the Chimney Safety Institute of America. They’re a great resource for homeowners with questions about maintenance and safety.
Leaving a one inch layer of ash in your fireplace will make it easier to build and maintain a fire. It can also protect the floor of the fireplace, however if the ash gets too thick, it will need to be cleaned out. To do this, use a metal shovel and a metal bucket. Assume that there are live coals in the ash you remove from the fireplace. Many homeowners have started house fires by assuming there was no heat source in the ash and simply dumped it in the trash. This author once burned his fingerprint off a live coal as a child, and this author’s brother once started a fire in a trash can by assuming there were no live coals when tossing out the ashes. At the end of your wood burning season, you should remove all the ash from the fireplace as it actually can be corrosive to the masonry and metal over long periods of time when combined with moisture coming down the flue.
What NOT to Burn in a Fireplace
Your fireplace is not an incinerator and should not be treated like one. The only thing that should go in your fireplace is kindling and wood, but to clarify some of the dangers we’ve provided this list.
- Cardboard: contains chemicals that can be released into the air.
- Colored Paper: anything with colored ink also contains chemicals that can be released into the air.
- Styrofoam: contains chemicals that can be released into the air.
- Plastics: contains chemicals that can be released into the air.
- Any treated, painted, or stained wood: contains chemicals that can be released into the air. Some of these fumes are known to be toxic
- Coal or charcoal: burns hotter than wood and your fireplace may not be made to handle the higher temperature.
- Pyrotechnic Colorants: Some crafty DIYers have discovered that certain elements like copper can alter the color of the flame. Unfortunately many of the chemicals that can change colors are listed online, and people find guides by well meaning but ill-informed folk on how to make their own colorants out of household items. One such guide instructed readers to soak pine cones in household cleaners and burn them. Other chemicals recommended were toxic and could cause burning or blindness if it got into their eyes. While some colorants are safe and can be found in the camping section of major department stores, those are recommended for outdoor use. We recommend simply enjoying the warm glow of a natural fire indoors.
- Accelerants: as with pyrotechnic colorants, this is best left to outdoor fires. Using accelerants indoors can cause unexpectedly large flare ups resulting in an uncontrolled fire inside your home.
In creating this list we’ve referenced the Winewool Volunteer Fire Department in their list of “Seven things you should never burn in your fireplace—and why” and we’ve also referenced american-chimney.com as they also provide a solid list of “What not to Burn in Your Fireplace“. The rule of thumb for a safe fireplace is that if it’s not seasoned wood or kindling, don’t burn it indoors.
A Word of Caution
Sometimes we see door knockers, people going door to door, selling firewood. Or cottage industries will pop up and you’ll see folk trying to get into the business. We take no issue with them, and wish them the best of luck, but sometimes their inexperience can cost you. You don’t want to buy wood from someone who has not taken the time to let it become seasoned, or worse, someone who collected diseased trimmings from their lot or a neighbor’s lot. Bringing that into your yard can spread illness to healthy trees. Be wary of someone selling a face cord as a standard cord. A standard cord takes a depth of four feet into account, and leaves you with 128 cubic feet of wood and air. A face cord is only about 36 cubic feet of wood and air. Look out for criss-crossed stacking techniques that leave a lot of gaps. Some vendors will claim it’s for circulation, but you’re paying for air at that point.
To buy wood from us, you have to contact us. We do not use high pressure sales tactics, we do not go door to door, we do not cold call. We’re standing by here, ready for you when you need us.
Give us a call at 703-623-1995 or email us using the contact form on this page if you have any questions. Mark will be in touch to help you out as best as possible.