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There’s nothing better than sitting by the fire on a cold winter’s night. The gentle crackling of the logs, the radiating warmth, the dancing flames—it’s the epitome of coziness.
However, keeping that fire fed with wood can get expensive, especially during peak season when cord prices soar over $300.
But what if I told you there are ways to get all the firewood you need without spending a dime? By knowing where to look, you can get wood for free and enjoy unlimited fireside relaxation.
In this article, we’ll explore the many sources where free firewood can be found, from online ads to repurposed materials. With a little effort and creativity, you’ll stay stocked up on logs at no cost.
1. Look Online For Free Listings
One of the easiest ways to find free firewood is by browsing online classified ads.
Sites like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and Freecycle are filled with people looking to get rid of extra wood.
- Craigslist is a top choice, with a specific section for free items. Browse there or search for “free firewood” to find local ads. Act fast if you see a good listing, as free wood goes quickly!
- Facebook Marketplace is another option. While mainly a buying/selling platform, some users also post free items. Check the Marketplace in your area to uncover potential leads.
- Freecycle connects people looking to give away usable items, including wood. Join your local Freecycle group to receive emails when someone in your community offers free firewood.
Other apps like OfferUp and Nextdoor can also be sources for free wood, so check there too. With the power of the internet, you can easily uncover wood opportunities without leaving your house!
2. Ask Neighbors For Wood
Your own neighborhood is another firewood goldmine. Keep an eye out for neighbors doing tree work or cleaning up after storms.
For example, if a neighbor had a tree service take down a tree, they may have leftover wood to dispose of. Offer to take it off their hands—they’ll probably be thrilled not to have to deal with it!
After heavy winds or snow, fallen branches are common. Walk around the neighborhood and ask if you can take any wood that landed on someone’s property. Just be sure to ask first before removing anything.
You can also put the word out to friends, family, or local contacts. If anyone you know did tree trimming or took down a tree, ask if they have wood to spare.
They may have a stack waiting to go to the dumpster or bonfire pile!
By tapping into your own network and keeping an eye on neighborhood happenings, you can score wood through your community.
3. Scout Construction Sites
Swing by local construction sites to uncover a potential wood source. Sites clearing land for new builds often have leftover lumber and tree debris.
Ask the foreman if you can take away some of their extra wood. Construction crews are typically happy to have someone remove the material for them. You may need to sign a waiver, but then you can pick through the selection and take what you want.
If no building is happening near you currently, try the landfill. Construction companies dump their waste wood there, leaving you lots of options to sift through.
Just confirm with landfill management that scavenging is allowed.
4. Talk to Tree Care Companies
Tree service businesses like arborists, tree surgeons, and sawmills are an untapped source of wood. As part of their work, they often end up with excess logs and lumber.
Research local companies in your area to find contact information. Give them a call and ask if they have any spare wood or trimmings they want to get rid of. Let them know you’d be happy to take it.
You may also ask to be added to a call list so they can notify you whenever extra wood becomes available. Building a relationship with tree companies gives you first dibs on their unwanted logs.
While not a guaranteed pipeline, you have a good chance of scoring free wood from tree care specialists in your region.
5. Source Wood Straight From Nature
For the ultimate self-sufficiency, harvest firewood straight from nature. If you own acreage, sustainably thinning your own forest can provide a steady wood source.
Many national forests also allow individuals to collect firewood, usually for a small permit fee. Check for forests near you and learn their policies.
As long as you follow rules and cut in approved areas, you can gather wood on public land.
After city branch pickups, scout neighborhood curbs for any sizable wood left behind. Pruning unwanted limbs from your own or a neighbor’s property is another hands-on way to find logs.
While requiring more effort, foraging wood yourself results in high-quality, seasonal firewood.
6. Repurpose Materials Like Pallets
Sometimes the best wood is already cut for you, in the form of repurposed materials. Pallets, construction scraps, and storm debris can all be converted into firewood.
Wood pallets are ubiquitous behind grocery stores, warehouses, and other businesses. Inspect them closely before taking any, as treated wood is unsafe to burn. Pry intact, untreated pallets apart to access the wood inside.
At construction sites, find discarded cuts and fragments from building projects. Workers are focused on the home itself, not the leftover wood scraps. Ask to take away the surplus rather than letting them go to waste.
Fallen branches after severe weather are another repurposing opportunity. Remove them from yards and properties in your area. The owners will appreciate the help, and you’ll stock up on logs.
Upcycling common leftover materials requires more processing on your end but saves the logging work.
7. Check With Municipalities
Contact your city/town’s public works department to ask if they have wood debris from storm cleanup or tree trimming that residents can collect as firewood.
Ask if you can have wood from any trees taken down on public land for construction projects, road work, etc.
Also, see if your municipality chips brush into mulch and allows residents to take it. Sift through the mulch for usable wood pieces.
8. Watch for Home Renovations
When you see a home renovation with a dumpster out front, knock on the door and offer to take any discarded wood off their hands.
Drive through neighborhoods looking for demolition projects, new roofing, siding, or deck jobs. Ask the crew for their wood leftovers.
Check for signs of renovation work being done and ask the homeowners if they’re getting rid of any wood materials.
9. Contact Land Owners
Get permission to collect downed branches or trees on private land you have access to, like farms, large lots, etc.
Ask hunting clubs, golf courses, or other large land owners if you can remove dead trees or fallen limbs on their property.
Check with the city or county to see if there are unused public lots with dead trees or brush you can clear.
Know When and How to Harvest Wood
When gathering wood from any source, keep the timing and technique in mind. Plan ahead, harvest responsibly, and take safety seriously.
Ideally, cut and split wood at least 6-12 months before burning so it has ample drying time. The seasons matter too; aim to gather next winter’s wood during late spring through early summer.
Leave the chainsaw behind when possible – simply ask to take already felled wood from people. For any tree cutting, employ proper protective gear and skills.
Felling trees is dangerous for amateurs.
During transport, securely load logs in a truck or trailer to prevent loose debris on roads. Don’t take more than you can store. Safely stacking and covering wood keeps it in good condition for burning.
Heating your home using wood doesn’t have to cost a fortune when free options exist. Although it requires more legwork than buying logs, you can save significant money in the long run.
Keep your eyes open for nearby opportunities, build a personal network of wood sources, and before you know it, you’ll have a lifetime supply of firewood!
The next time you want to cozy up near the hearth on a snowy day, you can relax and enjoy the fire knowing you didn’t have to pay an arm and a leg for the wood.
Michelle Harler is the founder of Guide2Free, a website dedicated to finding and sharing freebies, product testing opportunities, and other ways to save money. With over a decade of experience in the industry, her expertise in finding quality offers makes Guide2Free an invaluable resource for anyone looking to try new products and save money.