Firewood Sale Requirements
When the weather cools, a toasty fire may sound good. Before you buy firewood, be prepared with the following tips:
Method of Sale
Arizona adopts the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Handbook 130 into state law regarding the method of sale of commodities. NIST Handbook 130 requires firewood to be sold by the cord, fraction of a cord, or by the cubic meter, EXCEPT that:
- Natural wood sold in packaged form in quantities less than 0.45 cubic meters (1/8 cord or 16 cubic feet) shall display the quantity in terms of liters (including fractions of a liter), and may also include a declaration of quantity in terms of cubic feet (including fractions of a cubic foot).
- Artificial compressed logs shall be sold by weight, and packages such individual logs shall be sold by weight plus count.
- Stove wood pellets or chips not greater than 15 centimeters (6 inches) in any dimension shall be sold by weight.
- Flavoring chips offered for sale in packaged form in quantities of less than 0.45 cubic meters (1/8 cord or 16 cubic feet) shall display the quantity in terms of liters (including fractions of a liter), and may also include a declaration of quantity in terms of cubic feet (including fractions of a cubic foot).
NIST requires a cord to equal 128 cubic feet (commonly an area 8 feet long, by 4 feet high, by 4 feet wide). A seller may NOT legally sell firewood by the truckload, face cord, rack, or pile. These are arbitrary measurements and do not guarantee you that you will get what you pay for.
When you buy firewood, be sure to obtain a receipt that shows the seller's name and address, price of the sale, and the amount and type of wood purchased. If possible, also get the seller's phone number and the license plate number of the delivery vehicle. If you have firewood delivered, ask the seller to stack the wood upon delivery so you can confirm that you received what you paid for (Note: Some sellers may charge extra for this service).
Measure the wood before using any. If the cubic measurement indicates that you did not receive the correct volume, contact the seller immediately. If the seller cannot or will not correct the problem, contact the Arizona Department of Agriculture, Weights and Measures Services Division at (602) 542-4373 before you burn any wood. It is also helpful to document the possible shortage by taking a picture of the stacked wood.
Stacking a Cord for Measurement
NIST defines a cord as, "the amount of wood that is contained in a space of 128 cubic feet when the wood is ranked and well stowed". When stacking wood for measurement, "ranked and well stowed" means that individual pieces of wood are placed in a line or row, with individual pieces touching and parallel to each other, and stacked in a compact manner. Once properly stacked, measure the length, width, and height of the stack, then use the formulas provided below to convert the measurements to cubic feet. We have also provided some basic conversions from cubic feet to a cord for your reference.
Formulas to Calculate Cubic Feet:
- Length (feet) x width (feet) x height (feet) = cubic feet
- Length (inches) x width (inches) x height (inches)/1,728 = cubic feet
Cord Conversions to Cubic Feet
- 1 Cord = 128 cubic feet
- 1/2 Cord = 64 cubic feet
- 1/3 Cord = 42.7 cubic feet
- 2/3 Cord = 85.3 cubic feet
- 1/8 Cord = 16 cubic feet