How to select firewood

Firewood is a renewable resource, provided the consumption rate is controlled to sustainable levels. Proper forestry practices applied to firewood allow the usage of a carbon-neutral, or even carbon-negative, energy source, since the carbon dioxide released by the burning of the firewood was previously absorbed from the ambient atmosphere through photosynthesis. As a result, firewood can be considered to be a form of solar energy.

Selecting Firewood:

Firewood can be either Hardwood (Deciduous - Usually Trees with leaves - including Ash, Maple, Beech, Elm, Oak as well as Birch, Cherry, Apple, Hickory, Walnut etc. 

Or Softwood (Conifer – Usually trees with needles and include Fir, Hemlock, Pine & Spruce).

University Firewood ONLY SELLS HARDWOOD FIREWOOD.  We do offer softwood kindling.

What type of hardwood should I buy?

Mixed Hardwood is what most people start with.  It will include a mixture of seasoned Maple, Ash, Beech and Elm. It burns extremely well with great BTU’s.

Some people prefer our specialty woods, Birch, Cherry, Oak and Apple.  Each has different characteristics and are not part of the mixed hardwood variety.

We don’t try to up-sell you to the specialty woods – If you prefer them we try to keep them in stock. We also have the premium woods in bags so you can try a bag with your first order to see if you notice the difference.

If you have softwood lying around it makes good Outdoor Campfire wood.

How much do I need?

We are asked this question almost daily.  It’s a tough question.

A cord of firewood when stacked measures 4’ x 4’ x 8’ or 128 Cubic feet.  This is how we buy it.

Most of our customers start with a Face cord which is a ¼ of a Cord – 32 Cubic feet.  With 12” lengths when stacked the pile will measure 4’ high by 8’ long – Imagine a sheet of plywood leaning against your house or in the garage.  A face cord of 16” lengths measures when stacked roughly 4’ x 6’ x 1.33’ – 32 Cu’

If storage is your primary concern we can also deliver a half Face Cord – 16 cu’ measuring 4’ x 4’ when stacked.

Many customers buy multiple face cords or cords each year – it all depends on your storage space and frequency of fires.  Don’t worry if you ‘over-order’, when properly stored firewood is like red wine – it only improves with age and will keep indefinitely.

What length do you recommend?

If you have a smaller fireplace we always suggest 12” lengths.  If you have a larger hearth then 16” is a better choice.  If you are unsure start with 12”, you can always go longer.

What about different thicknesses?

Firewood comes off a processor in a range of thicknesses.  The wood ranges in thickness between 4”-8” diameter.  Most of our clients enjoy the regular split size opting to split down the larger pieces.

Others order ‘Extra Split’ which results in pieces of consistently between 4”-6” thicknesses.  Thinner pieces burn more easily and more quickly.

We also offer ‘Fine Split’ which results in pieces typically 2”-3” diameters.  This size wood works best in pizza ovens, smokers or smaller wood stoves.  Still not clear, please give us a call.

Stacking vs. Dumping

If we deliver to you we offer both dumping and stacking.  Dumping involves leaving the wood wherever we can get the truck parked.  We rarely ‘dump’ the wood but rather unload it by hand off the side or back of the truck.  If we have to move the wood say from the driveway ‘to my font porch or back deck’ then it becomes a ‘Stack’.  We allow 100’ from the truck over relatively flat ground as a standard stack.

We do offer ‘additional’ stacking which could include up flights of stairs, in basements or condos etc. once Covid recedes.  If your desired stacking location sounds a little challenging just call us to discuss.  

The Importance of Seasoning

Whichever type of firewood you choose, make certain that it has been properly seasoned. If you burn Wet or 'green' wood, you will use up thousands of BTUs heating up the moisture in the wood before it even begins to burn. Not only will this result in heat loss; you will also run the risk of having your chimney coated with "creosote". A buildup of creosote in your chimney is dangerous, since it can ignite and cause an intense fire in the chimney as it burns itself off. FOR THIS REASON WE RECOMMEND THAT YOU DO NOT BURN SOFTWOOD INDOORS – PERIOD.

Doing so will necessitate more frequent chimney cleanings and may cause extensive damage to your chimney. Many homes have burned to the ground as a result of creosote chimney fires. In short, then, buying green wood for immediate use is not a good value - even if it is less expensive than a cord of seasoned wood.  Wood purchased a the local gas bar or convenience store is often mixed with Hemlock or spruce.  You can feel the weight of good hardwood.

University Firewood is always well seasoned and is almost always below 20% moisture content.  Firewood can be sold at 30% or less moisture content. However under 20% is much more desirable.  Let us show you how dry our wood is – Always!

Type of Wood Heat
Heavy Smoke
per Cord
Hard Maple High No 29.7 Excellent
Red Oak High No 21.7 Excellent
White Oak High No 26.5 Excellent
Beech High No 21.8 Excellent
Birch High No 21.3 Excellent
Apple Medium No 19.6 Good
Cherry Medium No 18.5 Good
Ash High No 25.9 Excellent
Walnut Medium No 20.3 Good
Elm Medium Medium 23.8 Fair