The Secret To Free Firewood

Those weigh noticeably less than oak ones and are fine
August 07, 2017 | 11:07 am / iStock/Thinkstock
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Oak pallets can lower your winter fuel costs—if you can source them.

Firewood is a low-tech heat source, a renewable resource and, if handled correctly, a source of family fun. But it can have some challenges, too. Seasoned firewood can be expensive or unavailable when you need it, and procuring your own firewood calls for time spent splitting logs and doing it well in advance of winter so it can dry out in time.

For the last two winters, I’ve been heating my 1,400-square-foot home with free, seasoned oak that I get from stone yards, which use beefy oak pallets that hold extra-heavy loads of flagstone. I’m not talking about the common pine pallets, which are the kind you see piling up behind big-box stores. Those weigh noticeably less than oak ones and are fine for tossing into bonfires, but burning pine at home would send a lot of creosote up your chimney and perhaps lead to a chimney fire. For fireplaces and woodstoves, you want to stick with hardwoods.

If you’re concerned that the pallets might contain chemicals, rest easy. Because they don’t carry food or travel across international borders, oak pallets are simply dried in a kiln, which safely kills any pests without chemicals.

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Topics: tutorial, hobby

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