Buying firewood? Don't get burned!

In Canada, firewood is usually sold at the retail level in the following two ways:

Selling bulk firewood

The following are examples of legal units of measurement for use when selling bulk firewood in Canada:

Measurement Canada recommends that the use of the cord as a unit of measurement be discontinued, as it is largely misunderstood and often misused by people selling firewood. For example, some sellers use illegal terms such as "face cord", "stove cord", "apartment cord", "furnace cord" and "short cord" to refer to a quantity smaller than 128 cubic feet. Such terms frequently lead to confusion about the actual quantity of firewood being sold.

To avoid any confusion about the amount of firewood purchased or sold, Measurement Canada recommends the use of the stacked cubic metre when purchasing or selling bulk firewood.

How to measure bulk firewood

Stack the firewood neatly in a row, ensuring that individual pieces are touching and parallel to each other with as few gaps as possible.

Figure 1: Bulk Firewood

Figure 1: Bulk Firewood
Description of Figure 1

Pile of firewood neatly stacked in rows between two vertical planks with all logs facing the same direction. The length, width and height of the stack are labelled.

Measure the length, height and width of the stack.

If the stack is measured in centimetres (cm):

  1. multiply the length, height and width; and
  2. divide the result by 1 000 000 to get stacked cubic metres.

    For example:

    290 cm × 120 cm × 34 cm = 1 183 200 cm³

    1 183 200 cm³ ÷ 1 000 000 = 1.18 stacked m³

If the stack is measured in inches:

  1. multiply the length, height and width; and
  2. divide the result by 1 728 cubic inches to get cubic feet.

    For example:

    96 inches (8 feet) × 48 inches (4 feet) × 48 inches (4 feet) = 221 184 cubic inches

    221 184 ÷ 1 728 = 128 cubic feet (1 cord)

To convert cubic feet to stacked cubic metres, divide the number of cubic feet by 35.3:

128 ÷ 35.3 = 3.6 m³

Get what you paid for

Taking the following precautions when purchasing bulk firewood will help ensure that you get what you pay for.

When ordering firewood:

When receiving the firewood:

Buying firewood in Nova Scotia

Before buying firewood in Nova Scotia, consult the Nova Scotia Registry of Firewood Vendors. This voluntary registry provides consumers with a list of firewood vendors who have agreed to conduct business according to the Code of Ethics of the registry.

Restrictions on moving firewood

Did you know that moving firewood can spread invasive insects? Canadian Food Inspection Agency policies control the movement of firewood from regulated areas of Canada.

Think you have been shortchanged?

If you received less firewood than you paid for, contact the seller before using any of the firewood and try to resolve the issue. If you are unable to resolve the issue or if you need additional information about firewood measurement, please contact Measurement Canada.

If you have questions or want information about packaged firewood sold at the retail level, please contact the Competition Bureau.

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