Heating with a wood burning stove can be both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, it can save you a bundle of money on natural gas and electricity in the winter. Plus, there’s nothing quite like a warm cozy fire to gather around on a cold day! On the other hand, however, heating with wood isn’t all rainbows and roses, and it does have its downsides. For one, hauling wood and loading up a wood stove all the time can be a pain! If you don’t have access to a plot of land with your own free firewood, heating with wood can also be expensive if you have to order a truckload of firewood.
Fortunately, there are a few ways you can score free firewood if you’re in a pinch.
Where to Find Free Firewood
Some people need to get rid of old dead wood and are willing to give it away as free firewood. All you’ll have to do is cut it up and haul it away. Check your local newspapers, community bulletin boards, and local online boards. Craigslist and Freecycle are great places to start your search for free firewood!
Tree Removal Companies
Many tree removal companies are faced with the task of getting rid of the trees and branches that they cut down and remove from properties. Call around and ask if you can snag some of their discards for free firewood this year. Depending on where you live, a company may also even drop off the wood at your house.
Department of Public Works
It can sometimes be worthwhile to call your municipality’s Department of Public Works or similar department. Like tree removal companies, these departments often need to remove trees, bushes, and similar items.
Take a trip around your neighborhood and surrounding neighborhoods after storms. When trees and branches are blown down, homeowners are faced with the task of removing the downed branches. Do the neighborly thing and offer to cut up and remove the bigger pieces for free, which will save them some money, time, and cleanup. In this situation, everyone wins—they get their yards cleaned up for free and you score some free firewood.
If you know of a logging site near your home, you might be able to snag some free firewood from there as well. You can sometimes find large pieces of wood next to the road that have fallen off logging trucks, for instance. Some logging companies will also allow you to go onto the logging sites and collect the leftovers for your own personal use.
Do you have a sawmill in your area? Give them a call and ask about scrap pieces of wood. Some of these pieces are rather large and work nicely for firewood!
Tips to Remember
Snagging free firewood for the heating season is great! But there are a few tips you should keep in mind…
- Always ask permission. This is rule number one when collecting free firewood. Before you take so much as a twig, always ask and get permission from the landowners. Failure to do so could result in criminal charges, including trespassing and theft.
- Always clean up after yourself. If you’re on another person’s property collecting free firewood, leave the area as neat as or neater than you found it. Leaving a mess strewn about is a good way to make sure that you won’t be invited back for more free firewood.
- Be careful about what you burn. Some assembled wood items, like furniture or even pallets, can contain chemicals and treatments that may be dangerous when burnt. Pine is also not usually recommended for prolonged use in a wood stove, since it can cause creosote to build up in the chimney which can lead to chimney fires.