Measure for measure
A word of advice on buying firewood
21 May 2012
There’s no use pretending otherwise. Unpack the scarf, gloves and thermals; it’s officially cold.
You busy squirrels may be kicking back, enjoying slow-cooking and crumpets by a rip-roaring fire. If like us, you’ve been less… ahem… organised, you may be just starting to think about firewood. Don’t panic. Keep the following in mind and you won’t be left out in the cold.
Firewood can be sold by volume or description. It’s accepted for firewood to be sold as a ‘thrown measure’ – that is as if it were thrown into a container, not as if it were stacked.
If you buy your firewood by volume, it should legally be in cubic meters. To be sure you’re getting the right amount ask the vendor if they have a MAPSS certified measure. This is a measure approved by the Measurement and Product Safety Service (MAPSS). Their job is to make sure trade is based on fair and accurate measurement.
An approved measuring device will be marked with its volume in cubic meter, and have an identification and certificate approval number. It may also have a lead stamp imprinted with a Crown.
Invoices for firewood by volume should state the true net weight or measure of the quantity supplied. If you think you’ve received less than you ordered, don’t use it. Keep it in a safe place and contact MAPSS for advice. Call freephone 0508 MAPSS Info (0508 627 774)
Firewood sold by description might be a truck load, trailer load or sackful. You may want to see it before committing to buy it.
However you buy it, it’s a good idea to ask about the condition of the wood. Wood that is green or wet is poor quality and will be difficult to burn.
And remember, different types of wood burn at different rates – so the cheapest wood may not necessarily be the most cost-effective overall.
Finally, even if you’re in a hurry to get your winter stash sorted, it still pays to shop around. Look for different suppliers on the internet, in the Yellow Pages or local newspapers and check the going rate. Better still, ask friends for somebody they’d recommend.