There's no shortage of firewood this year thanks to the two big storms of 2011. But unless you're handy with an ax or a log-splitter, you'll probably be purchasing wood for your fireplace or wood-burning stove.
Buying firewood can be confusing. Firewood is sold in "cords." A cord is a measurement of volume — 128 cubic feet to be exact. A full cord measures by 4-by-4-by-8 feet, but the number of logs it contains depends on how tightly they're stacked. Take a tape measure and inspect the cord to make sure you're getting what you ordered.
The average size of a log is 16 inches. A full cord has three rows of logs. Much of the firewood sold for home fireplaces is actually a face cord, which is a third of a cord. Make sure you know what you're buying.
Some wood-burning stoves take smaller logs. Measure the firebox before ordering standard-size logs.
Once the wood has been delivered - or dumped - at your house, have a plan for stacking it neatly and covering it.
When lighting the fireplace, remember to follow fire safety rules. Use a screen at all times on an open fireplace and dispose of ashes in a metal ash can. If it's been a while since you had your chimney swept, do it soon.